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Study: Sarcasm Increases Creativity and Well-Being. Like We Didn't Already Know That.

Published On 10/30/2015 Published On 10/30/2015
Focus Features

Oh man, scientific research is soooooo helpful at deducing what's good and/or bad for people these days. Like this study obviously pulled out of a shadowy cavity usually reserved for a favored graduated cylinder, conducted by researchers at The Harvard School of Business INSEAD, and the Columbia Business School  (shouldn't they be focused on containing global market flow and preserving economy-crushing, upper-class nepotism?) that states the use of sarcasm is beneficial to both participants -- the giver, and the receiver -- by delivering a concentrated dose of creativity and abstract thinking, resulting in heightened "psychological well-being."

This was first reported in the Harvard Gazette (remember what I said about nepotism?) and if you don't have a thesaurus or Ben Stein handy to decode phrases like "Despite being the lingua franca of the Internet," or "Implicit, too, was the worry that the ascendancy of an African-American man to a previously unattainable position of global power might turn out to be a hollow victory," here's what the study boils down to: sarcasm, though traditionally thought to be a negative, isolating trait, causes people to think abstractly, and creatively -- in turn, stimulating the corners of the brain that preserve and inspire mental well-being.

Try to follow this next bit. It's very illuminating.

β€œTo create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking,” Francesca Gino, one of the major players in the study, told the Harvard Gazette via email. Right. Makes sense.

So what does this mean for sarcastic people and their victims out there in the world, ultimately? I don't know. And frankly I don't care. Tomorrow, there will probably be "new data" released that proves sarcasm contains airborne carcinogens and also that dark chocolate decreases the rate of feline diabetes. At any rate, if you want to read the rest of the study, you can do so here, if you want. Doesn't really matter, we are all going to die one day, anyway.

[Ed. Note: This article was specifically designed to induce feelings of creativity and psychological well-being in readers. Our apologies if it didn't work]


Wil Fulton is a Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's actually pretty genuine, in person. Follow him @wilfulton

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