In news that comes as a personal victory for yours truly, science has finally done something so irrevocably useful by finding that my prickly sarcasm, and that of millions of others who bask in this misunderstood art form, could be proof of a higher intelligence than normal. Now I’m no scientist (but I am sarcastic, so I’m already practically there according to these new studies), but higher intelligence to me sounds like sarcastic people might be demi-gods, and I will fully embrace my role as an omniscient and witty savant among society.
All sarcasm aside, those stuffy researchers over at Harvard, who are world renowned for their biting wit, have conducted a study that revealed sarcasm as the highest form of intelligence. Had this study come six years prior, I would’ve sent in that Harvard application after all, confident in the knowledge that my sarcasm would finally take me places. The study, conducted by the business school of all places, looked at shared cognitive experiences of users of sarcasm and the recipients of their blows to analyze the behavioral implications of sarcasm and see if it represented a higher mode of thinking.
Turns out, sarcasm equals smarts. Wicked smarts. Two studies that set up mock sarcastic conversations or asked participants to recall a particularly sarcastic exchange revealed that the sassier you are, the more enhanced creativity you display. Which makes total sense – it ain’t easy being clever and witty. These studies also showed that sarcastic people were adept at causing more conflict, but that’s typically what happens when you pair a native speaker of sarcasm with a foreigner. As someone whose first language is sarcasm and second is English, I’m all too aware of the trouble my higher intellect has gotten me in.
A third study took the findings from the previous two studies, where enhanced creativity was the eureka discovery from people just being sassy to one another, and dissected this further, revealing that sarcasm enhanced creativity into a stronger form of abstract thinking. So not only do sarcastic people just have wells of creative energy flowing out of them, they also have superior problem-solving skills. Oh, and they’re usually hilarious to boot!
Yet another study conducted later (what did you expect from those overachievers at Harvard?) discovered that expressing or receiving sarcasm from a “trusted other” led to the aforementioned increase in creativity, but not in conflict. Basically, this boils down to sarcastic people getting along well with other sarcastic people because they speak the same language, and the potential for conflict is negated because nothing gets lost in translation. Yes, I was being a snarky little bitch to you, but you get it, so no hard feelings! This goes to show that sarcastic people don’t necessarily get mad at others for being sarcastic if they like the person, because they can dish out what they so often serve.
Not to be outdone by those Harvard kids, The Smithsonian took its own scientific look at sarcasm and their findings reinforce that exposure to it can increase critical thinking and problem solving. To everyone I’ve ever interacted with: you’re welcome! They also found that it takes more effort for the brain to detect and understand sarcasm, meaning that if you do get it, your brain technically is working better than those that don’t. That’s not me talking, that’s science. For all of us out there who quip first and ask questions later, let’s sleep well tonight knowing that being called sarcastic is now a compliment of a higher order.