Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Snarkiness for creativity.


My colleague and friend, Heidi, often uses the word "snarky."  I love when she does this, primarily because it makes my day a bit more enjoyable, as it's one of those words that doesn't get the recognition that it deserves.  ("Cheeky" is also a favorite -- maybe I'm a closet Anglophile...)  I've been doing a lot of reading on fostering and teaching creativity, and was very excited when I saw a picture and caption that immediately brought Heidi's SNARK to mind:  "Sarcasm is Good for Creativity."

Who knew that there is such a publication as Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes?  More importantly, how can we not be subscribers?  The July issue shares the sarcasm study, with some surprising findings.  The entire article can be found here.  Meanwhile, here are the highlights:

•Sarcasm is an instigator of conflict but also a catalyst for creativity.
•General forms of sarcasm promote creativity through abstract thinking for both expressers and recipients.
•Expressing sarcasm to or receiving sarcasm from trusted others increases creativity without elevating conflict.
•We manipulated sarcasm via a simulated conversation task and a recall task.
•We employed three different creativity measures and a well-established measure of abstract thinking.


If you think about it, thinking about any snarky statement made to you requires tapping in to a different part of your brain to process what your colleague, friend, or the dude at Starbucks, actually said.  And, apparently, the gaffaw over your shoulder at said speaker is your only defense to indicate that you are highly intelligent, and GOT THE SNARK.

I'm not sure this is license to insult, but anything that causes deeper thinking is certainly worth a try - or two!