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Rebecca Adams
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Rebecca Adams grew up between New York, California and Texas, where she studied multimedia journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Brooklyn with an Australian and three houseplants perpetually on the verge of death.

Entries by Rebecca Adams

You're More Creative When You're Sarcastic, Says Study

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 12:04 PM

Academic studies can be fascinating ... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background

Sarcasm doesn't always land well. Comedians like Sarah Silverman and Trevor Noah have come under fire for jokes gone awry (or misunderstood, depending on where your tastes lie), and some psychologists even equate sarcasm to "bullying." If the line between harmless fun and hostile snark can often be thin, why take the risk?

For one, sarcasm can be pretty damn funny. And now, researchers have identified actual cognitive benefits to being sarcastic. 

The Setup

To find this out, researchers from Harvard University, Columbia University and INSEAD conducted four different experiments. For the first three, participants were divided into one of five groups wherein they were either the expresser or the recipient of sarcasm or sincerity. "Sarcasm" was defined as "expressing the opposite of what one thinks or feels with the intention of communicating one's true meaning." So the groups were: expressing-sarcasm, receiving-sarcasm, expressing-sincerity, receiving-sincerity or a control condition that was neither sarcastic or sincere. The fourth experiment used similar groupings in regard to sarcasm/sincerity, but had an element of trust/distrust for the hypothetical prompt deliverer. 

Based on those groupings, participants completed a specific conversation exercise, depending on the experiment. For example, the first experiment had participants write replies to prompts. Those in the expressing-sarcasm group replied to a prompt by writing the first sarcastic reply that came to mind, and those in the receiving-sarcasm group were told to imagine that the prompt was delivered sarcastically and they then provided the first reply that came to mind.

After the conversation exercises, participants completed various creativity tests, including a word association exercise and the Duncker Candle Problem. The third study also tested participants' abstract thinking skills after the sarcastic or sincere exchange through an established test that showed whether they were more likely to describe words (like "voting") either concretely ("marking a ballot") or abstractly ("influencing the election").

The Findings

All four experiments found that sarcastic remarks led both the expressers and recipients to be more creative. The sarcastic exchange didn't even have to be particularly clever -- the creative boost was seen no matter what the hypothetical conversation looked like. The third study, the only one to test for abstract thinking, delved a bit deeper, finding that expressing or receiving a sarcastic comment can jump-start a person's abstract thinking, which then leads to creativity. 

The Takeaway

As hostile as sarcasm can come off, it just might be a great brain exercise for those hoping to spark creativity.

This isn't such a crazy concept when you think about it. Crafting a statement that literally says one thing but purposefully conveys the opposite probably does take a little extra brain work than straightforward communication. And once your brain switches into sarcastic mode, it seems you can tap into all sorts of creativity sitting idly in there just waiting to be put to work.

So go forth and be your sarcastic, smart-alecky, creative self. No apologies.

Also on...

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7 desvantagens do namoro online, de acordo com a ciência

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 11:28 AM

O lado bom de usar um site ou aplicativo de namoro online é óbvio: é uma maneira fácil de encontrar várias pessoas, para possíveis encontros, sempre que quiser. Mas será que toda essa quantidade e conveniência se traduz em qualidade? Nem sempre.

Já que 38% dos americanos solteiros...

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La ciencia confirma: es mejor ser amigos antes de empezar a salir

(1) Comments | Posted July 26, 2015 | 10:04 AM

Los estudios académicos pueden resultar fascinantes… y absolutamente confusos. Así que hemos decidido despojarnos de toda la jerga científica y explicarlo de forma clara para ti.

PUNTO DE PARTIDA

A veces ir de citas es una pasada. Otras veces, puede parecer que te estés quedando atrás en...

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5 Reasons Kids Shouldn't Sleep Near Their Devices

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 10:28 AM


 


When The Huffington Post and YouGov asked parents how often they let their kids sleep next to their cell phones, 30 percent said they allowed it sometimes or always. Another 30 percent, however, banned cell phones from bedsides entirely. 


Of course, setting screen time limits...

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Americans Become More Accepting Of Gays Every Day, Study Suggests

(2) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 1:50 PM


 


Academic studies can be fascinating... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.


The Background


The rainbow-filled celebrations across the country following the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay...

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사귀기 전에 친구가 되는 게 좋은 이유가 과학적으로 증명됐다

(1) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 12:53 AM

학구적 연구는 매혹적일 수 있다…… 그리고 굉장히 헷갈릴 수도 있다. 그래서 우리는 전문 과학 용어는 다 빼고 당신에게 쉽게 설명해주기로 했다.

배경

썸 타는 건 정말 좋을 때도 있다(여기를 참고하라!). 한편 피상적이고 얄팍한 올림픽에서 뒤처지고 있는 기분이 들 때도 있다. 로맨스 경주에서 승리하고 가장 매력적인 후보로...

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13 Women On Why They Quit Online Dating To Find Love IRL

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 10:24 AM

When online dating works, it can be a great way to connect with lots of people you wouldn't have otherwise met. But when it doesn't, the experience can send you down the everyone-is-awful-so-I'm-probably-dying-alone spiral.

Despite its popularity, not everyone's experience with online dating is positive. Plenty of women are opting...

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Men Who Harass Women Online Have Inferiority Complexes, Study Suggests

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 10:51 AM


Academic studies can be fascinating... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.


The Background


The gaming community is notoriously hostile to women. Despite the fact that 48 percent of gamers are...

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5 Ways Using Your Phone Less Can Improve Your Relationship (And How To Do It)

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 10:32 AM


 


The time and attention some people devote to their phones is enough to make even the most patient partner jealous.


According to Pew Research Center, 67 percent of people with a cell phone check their phone without hearing a ring or feeling a vibration, 44...

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25 mulheres encaram suas gloriosas coxas, sem retoques – e as descrevem em uma só palavra

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2015 | 1:53 PM

Quando você pensa nas suas coxas, quais palavras vem à sua mente? Que elas são "grossas"? "Honestas"? "Mágicas"?

Uma palavra que muitas mulheres associam é "complicada". Pode ser difícil curtir 100 por cento as suas coxas quando as únicas que vemos por aí são as de modelos maquiadas em revistas...

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O que 13 mulheres pensam sobre a regra de pagar no primeiro encontro

(3) Comments | Posted July 19, 2015 | 2:37 AM

De todos os aspectos da arte de cortejar heterossexual, tentar descobrir como lidar com a conta no fim do primeiro encontro é um dos piores. Um paquera tradicional vai pensar que você está enviando vibes platônicas caso se ofereça para dividir a conta? Ou você é uma babaca se não...

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Kids Now Prefer Playing With Smartphones To Dessert

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 3:39 PM

Most kids these days are far exceeding the recommended maximum of two hours of screen time a day. But what do those stats really mean for parents?

To find out, market researchers at Miner & Co. Studio polled a nationally representative sample of 800 American moms and dads of kids...

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Parents May Have A Favorite Child Without Even Knowing It

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 11:21 AM


 


Academic studies can be fascinating... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.


The Background


When Jan Brady groaned, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha," it may have seemed melodramatic, but the quintessential...

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8 Matchmakers On How To Find A Date IRL

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 10:12 AM


In a world where many singles are digital natives, it's becoming increasingly easy to swipe for a date, rather than look up from our devices and notice all of the dateable people physically surrounding us every day. Sure, the perfect Tinder pick-up line may not be too hard...

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7 Drawbacks Of Online Dating, According To Science

(29) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 5:11 PM

The upside of online dating is obvious: It's an easy way to meet a bunch of potential dates whenever you want. But does all of that quantity and convenience equal quality? Not always.

As 38 percent of contemporary American singles looking for love online, there's now a whole...

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A Very Good Reason To Be Friends Before Dating, Courtesy of Science

(125) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 10:25 AM

Academic studies can be fascinating... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background
Sometimes dating is awesome (see here). Other times, it can feel like you're lagging behind in the...

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Photoshop: Ces femmes assument leurs cuisses sans retouche

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 11:00 AM

FEMMES - Les cuisses, cette partie du corps qui fait souvent complexer les femmes. Difficile d’être à 100% satisfaite de ses cuisses quand on est entourée de top-modèles dans les magazines et sur les affiches publicitaires. Bien souvent, ces cuisses “parfaites” n’existent que grâce à des retouches astucieuses (gardons en...

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Photoshop: ces femmes assument leurs cuisses sans retouche (PHOTOS)

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 9:22 AM

Les cuisses, cette partie du corps qui fait souvent complexer les femmes. Difficile d’être à 100% satisfaite de ses cuisses quand on est entourée de top-modèles dans les magazines et sur les affiches publicitaires. Bien souvent, ces cuisses “parfaites” n’existent que grâce à des retouches astucieuses (gardons en mémoire que...

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Mais altos e mais sexualmente ativos? Homens mentem para reafirmar masculinidade

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 6:24 PM

Estudos científicos podem ser fascinantes... e totalmente confusos. Então decidimos destrinchar as pesquisar e ficar longe dos jargões dos pesquisadores.

As descobertas
Ambos os estudos da Universidade de Washington e da Universidade de Stanford indicam que os homens tendem a ampliar ou compensar fraquezas para reafirmar a masculinidade quando...

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Ohne Photoshop: Echte Frauen zeigen ihre nackten Beine

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 1:30 PM

Welches Wort kommt Ihnen in den Kopf, wenn Sie an Ihre Oberschenkel denken? Sind sie "dick"? "Ehrlich"? "Magisch"?

Ein Wort, das viele Frauen mit ihren Oberschenkeln assoziieren, ist "kompliziert". Es kann schwer sein, die eigenen Schenkel zu mögen, wenn die einzigen anderen, die man sieht, Models in Zeitschriften und...

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