10 Ways Sarcasm Makes You A Better Person

JK, you're the worst.

02/12/2015 11:32 PM AEDT | Updated 02/12/2015 11:32 PM AEDT

Forget Spanish or French. For some people, sarcasm is a second language.

While everyone lobs a snarky remark here and there, a sarcastic person expresses humor in verbal irony by making statements that defy their literal meaning. Anecdotally, many people who identify as sarcastic claim that they can't help their salty commentary. For them, it's as natural -- and important -- as breathing.

Those who are sarcastic are the rulers of the universe, displaying more wit and intelligence than any other personality type (that was sarcasm, obviously). But, in all seriousness, snarky commentary is a quick way to get misunderstood. 

But sarcasm isn't necessarily a bad trait to possess. Below are just a few things you should know about sarcastic individuals and their shared smart-aleck personality type:

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1. Sarcasm may be a sign of good brain health.

Research shows that a little sarcasm can be a good thing when it comes to cognitive function. In fact, an inability to detect sarcasm may even be a sign of brain problems or disease, like dementia. Through a series of MRIs, scientists found that sarcasm lives in the parahippocampal gyrus, the part of the brain associated with memory. How's that for a reason to sharpen your wit?

2. It helps you pick friends.

Sarcastic people tend to dish out their snark more with their loved ones than anyone else. This makes it important that they surround themselves with people who appreciate their sense of humor (which research shows is crucial to social connection). Sarcastic people appreciate people who not only have the ability to tolerate their smart-ass comments, but can give them back.

3. You're good at showing affection (really!)

I hate you = I love you to someone with a biting sense of humor. "There does seem to be truth to the old adage that you tend to tease the ones you love," sarcasm researcher Penny Pexman, a University of Calgary psychologist, told Smithsonian magazine. 

Sarcastic people show affection by way of snark. That being said, psychologists recommend curbing the remarks for the sake of certain relationships. What sarcastic people view as playful, others may see as hostile.

4. It might make you more creative.

A recent study found that smart alecks may be more inventive. Participants who made sarcastic remarks -- as well as the receivers of those remarks -- did better on creativity tests. The study also found that sarcasm may jumpstart a person's abstract thinking.

5. You know how to de-escalate a situation.

It's no secret that sarcasm can be a little off-putting. But while conflict can arise with a sarcastic remark, those closest to a smart aleck know it's just their sense of humor -- at least according to research. 

"Our studies show that, given the same content and tone, sarcasm expressed toward or received from someone we trust is less conflict provoking than sarcasm expressed toward or received from someone we distrust," Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist and professor at Harvard Business School, wrote in Scientific American.

6. Sarcasm rules the world.

Sharp wit has been revered for ages. Researchers have been studying sarcasm for at least a decade and the trend has permeated culture much longer than that. One phone analysis study found when people used the phrase "yeah, right," it was said sarcastically 23 percent of the time. What's more, children are exposed to it from an early age, making it highly likely they understand sarcasm before they even get to kindergarten. 

7. Sarcastic people think on another level.

There's a common saying that "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but the highest form of intelligence." That may be right: Sarcasm really is a workout for the noggin. Research shows the brain has to work harder to process snarky remarks, the Smithsonian reported, which may lead to a sharper brain overall through problem solving.

8. It may have played a role in your survival.

The inability to detect snark in today's modern society is more of a hinderance than a help, according to experts. Research shows sarcasm may be seen as an evolutionary survival skill because of its critical role in social interactions. In other words, smart-ass comments are simply part of human behavior at this point.

9. Your snark may reveal where you're from.

Sarcasm varies depending on region and immediate culture. One study of college-age students found that 56 percent of participants in northern states saw sarcasm as funny while only 35 percent of the southerners found it humorous. It seems that sincerity and southern charm may go hand-in-hand.

10. You can give up being sarcastic.

... Just kidding. In a culture that praises sarcasm through pop culture and social media commentary, it's easier than ever for a sarcastic person to flaunt their biting sense of humor.

A sarcastic person passing up the opportunity to make a salty statement? Yeah, right.

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