Get out of town, really? I guess sarcastic people are smarter. Who’d have thought?
Are you the kind of person who gets called a smart ass a lot? It turns out, you probably are equal parts smart and ass. According to a piece published in Smithsonian Mag, sarcastic smart ass types are actually scientifically smarter. How is that? You have to look at the root of what sarcasm actually is.
Sarcasm is simply stating one thing but implying something else. To use and detect sarcasm, you not only need to grasp the scenario at hand, but parts of the scenario that might be lacking. Richard Chin of the Smithsonian says that sarcasm requires “mental gymnastics,” and the ability to “think beyond the literal meaning of the words and understand that the speaker may be thinking of something entirely different.”
Sarcasm, in a sense, makes you think one step ahead, and science can defend that statement. In one experiment, electrodes were attached to the brain to monitor activity levels that respond to sarcastic statements. When sarcastic statements were heard, electrical activity levels increased in the subjects. Over time, sarcasm serves as a mental exercise, strengthening the brain. Much like a bicep curl, sarcasm leaves your brain stronger.
Sarcasm is linked not just to intelligence, but to aggression too. A separate study by Albert Katz, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Western Ontario, found that those fluent in sarcasm also tested higher in aggression tests.
Katz suggests that aggressive people can “decode” sarcasm faster, so smart ass beware, use sarcasm with caution when you’re at the bar. You might think you’re being clever, but you may also be the only one. And keep in mind too, it’s important to gauge the sarcasm in a room. Sarcasm is easily detected by smart people, but there are plenty of idiots who might not like your smart assery.
Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives