Whether you’ve uttered it yourself or had it told to you by an unimpressed family member, colleague or acquaintance, we’ve all heard the phrase “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit”. The bit that’s usually left off or forgotten by people though is that Oscar Wilde actually finished the sentence with “but the highest form of intelligence”.
A study is now supporting Wilde’s theory, finding that sarcastic people may actually be smarter, and be more beneficial in the workplace. Who knew!?
The study, published in the Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes journal, found that sarcasm in the workplace - both giving and receiving - can actually make you a more creative thinker.
According to the researchers, a sarcastic comment can actually spark creative thinking in the mind. This is because it requires you to think abstractly to work out the difference between the literal and figurative meaning of the words being said. As well as this, the person on the receiving end of a sarcastic remark needs to work through the same cognitive processes, resulting in creative thought patterns.
It’s important to note though that sarcasm is only the catalyst for creative thinking when both parties of the conversation trust and understand each other’s tone of delivery - otherwise sarcasm can cause conflict, leading to more harm than good. So don’t just jump straight in with the sarcasm in every conversation, there’s definitely a time and place.