STUDY: Smartasses Are More Creative And Have Greater Psychological Well-Being

It’s time for all the smart Alecs and snarks to take a bow. Academics have confirmed what the acid-tongued among us have suspected all along. People who use sarcasm are more creative and psychologically well-adjusted than everyone else.

Instead of being the lowest form of wit, it seems that sarcastic humor is actually employed by those whose intellects soar in more lofty realms. On top of this, it was also found that the liberal use of sarcastic comments can help to lift the IQ’s of the less intellectually well-endowed.

The paper, titled The Highest Form of Intelligence: Sarcasm Increases Creativity for Both Expressers and Recipients, was jointly produced by Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School and international graduate school, Insead.

The surprising finding of the study was that when sarcastic remarks were expressed towards or received from someone trusted, hostility did not increase but creativity did.

It makes perfect sense that those who use sarcastic humor are above average in the intelligence department, and that those on the receiving end will get some benefit from the mental workout they are subjected to. Sarcasm is based on irony, word play and multiple meanings. It takes brain power to come up with sarcastic comments. The listener is then forced to decipher what was meant compared to what was actually said.


Many of the great humorists have used biting sarcasm to make their point. From Oscar Wilde and Groucho Marx to Basil Fawlty and Blackadder, they continue to make us think and laugh at the same time, and we love them for it!

But what does all this mean for everyday communication? If you enjoy a bit of snark then the findings are truly liberating. Instead of having to hold back those razor sharp quips and withering barbs out of fear of hurting your loved ones’ feelings, you are now free to let rip, safe in the knowledge that you are helping them to become smarter and more creative!


Image via: Independent