“Yeah, right?” is one of the many sarcastic remarks we use in almost all of our conversation whether face to face or online. The question is, is that a good thing? Sarcasm came from the Greek word sarkazein which means to tear flesh like dogs. From that meaning alone we can only think of bad implications. But there are many studies that show the benefits of being snarky.
Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit and the highest form of intelligence. – Oscar Wilde
Studies show that sarcasm increases the level of creativity because our brain works so hard to decipher both its literal meaning and the meaning behind it. At a young age, we develop skills to detect sarcasm on our own. It reflects our mental health. Not getting those snide remarks may be an indication of brain damage.
Penny Pexman, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, studied kids and how they spot on sarcasm in a puppet show. They asked these children to put a toy duck in a box if they thought that the puppet was nice or a shark if it wasn’t. The result showed that perceiving mockery starts as early as five years old. But a damage in the prefrontal part of the brain or in the right hemisphere (neuroanatomical basis) decreases our ability to understand sarcasm and social recognition.
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In another study, sarcasm indeed increases creativity. “We found that sarcasm may stimulate creativity, the generation of ideas, insights, or problem solutions that are novel and useful.”, said Huang Li, one of the authors of the study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. They conducted a test of creativity by giving out task involving 300 men. They were separated by a group receiving sarcastic comments while the other received sincerity. After the completion of the task, it was revealed that the group exposed to sarcasm were three times more used creative thinking, which is correlated with abstraction than the other group.
Sarcasm as the modern day language enhances creativity in a conversation for both expressers and recipients. A sarcastic statement makes a person need to reply in equivalence or more sarcastically. Juicing out creativity to one another believe to be a way just to be cool since there is the lack of truth and sincerity. Isolating ourselves from truly communicating.
Sarcasm is an instigator of conflict but also a catalyst for creativity. –Li Huang
Conflicts arise from blow by blow sarcasm. This is common if the relationship between the expresser and recipient is not established. Studies show that we do sarcasm with our friends because we know that they will not be easily insulted. Trust is needed to not offend anyone. While studies may show how using sarcasm point to the superior work of our cognition, emotions are at risk.
Humorous as it may sound, it actually is not funny for those who find it as punning. Many of us use sarcasm to belittle others without saying it directly to them and sometimes in front of a big crowd. We laugh out at their expense. A person who consistently use sarcasm may have underlying hostility and insecurity. That is why it is important to master the art of it to not be a victim.
If you have decided to be or not to be sarcastic keep in mind to use it in moderation. You do not want to start a verbal war with anyone. Sarcasm may sharpen our brain and let us be creative but has it toll in our emotion and socialization. Think before you say something. Remember, life is a balancing act.
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