Here’s Why Sarcasm Boosts Your Creativity

Maybe snarky comments aren't so bad after all.

We’ve all had those days when we just felt like being sarcastic. And on those days, you can’t help but find yourself feeling as though you’re firing on all cylinders with every cunning remark you spit out.

Turns out, you may be onto something here. According to a recent study, sarcasm can increase creativity because it requires you to interpret words differently in order to decipher their actual meaning.

While you don’t usually feel as great being on the receiving end of a cheeky remark, look on the bright side. It’s helping you to be more creative. Because yes, a little satire is good for both the person delivering and the person receiving.


“To 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,” Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School told the “Harvard Gazette” via email. “This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking.”

So, the next time someone says something other than what they really mean—don’t get upset. Just know that they’ve helped you boost your creativity for that day. That’s one way of looking at it, huh?


In fact, if you have a healthy, trusting relationship with a person, a little tongue-in-cheek banter is a good thing.

“[U]nlike sarcasm between parties who distrust each other, sarcasm between individuals who share a trusting relationship does not generate more contempt than sincerity,” study co-author Adam Galinsky of Columbia University told the “Harvard Gazette.”

Next time you find yourself making a great than usual number of sarcastic comments—or even on the receiving end of light-hearted sarcasm—why not test the theory and see if it doesn’t spark your creativity?

[h/t: Mental Floss]