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Researchers from leading universities, including Harvard and Columbia, have proven that sarcasm is good for us. Their findings were recently published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

A series of experiments were run among more than 300 men and women to see how using and receiving sarcastic comments affected their creativity and ability to think laterally. The results found that sarcastic exchanges made participants three times more creative than their straight-playing counterparts when tackling psychological tests.

This is because making and understanding sarcastic comments forces us to think more abstractly, which stimulates creativity, openness and the generation of new ideas and problem-solving skills.

75% of those who had been the victim of sarcastic comments beforehand came up with the right solution to problems, compared with 25% who had been exposed to sincere comments.

Experimental Psychology and Natural Sciences applicants should read further into theory development about human cognition, judgment, and decision-making. Human Science and HSPS applicants may want to explore the value of empirical research in explaining human behaviour. Maths applicants may also want to look at how meta-analysis has contributed to methodological advancements in psychological research.

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