Can Sarcasm Boost Creative Thinking? Seriously?

Since the root meaning of the term sarcasm is to “tear at the

flesh like a dog,” and because there are a few studies

that suggest that a high use of sarcastic humor correlates to

higher levels of stress and possibly even heart disease, then

I usually suggest that people try to minimize their use of

sarcasm at work. Sarcasm can also create misunderstanding and

conflict, especially when a “sarchasm” (the gap between the

author of a sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it) is

involved. Having said that, a study reported in the Journal of

Applied Psychology suggests that overhearing sarcastic comments

might make us more creative! The researchers explain, “Sarcastic

expressions of anger, in contrast to direct expressions, can

have a positive effect on complex thinking and on solving of

creative problems. The incongruity inherent in

sarcasm stimulates complex thinking and attenuates the

otherwise negative effects of anger.” Wow. That’s the most

interesting academic research I’ve ever read. They should

win the Nobel Prize. Like seriously.

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Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Here’s an exercise you could turn into a bit of a creative

team building event while uncovering some truths about how

people perceive your organization. Create a time capsule for

your company, wherein everyone (or every team or department)

has to submit an object that they think best captures the

essence of your organization. Could you create a time capsule

that would clearly show future beings what it is your

organizations did? (Helpful hint: if people submit spools of

red tape or Dilbert cartoon books, your workplace may have

some work to do.)

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Quote of the Week

“The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power.” Francis

Bacon

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It’s a Wacky World

I LOVE this story: an out-of-work New York man boosted his income

by telling jokes for $1.00 a laugh in Central Park. “Jason the Joke

Guy” offered a money-back laughter guarantee and managed to reel

in $140.00 in the first six hours.

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Copyright Michael Kerr, 2011 www.humoratwork.com

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