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Faculty & Research


SHARP Wit: Why Receiving Sarcasm Improves Perspective-Taking

Journal Article
Despite its use of opposing expressions, sarcasm is often used to communicate a speaker’s viewpoint. The current analysis explores whether and when sarcasm increases the understanding of recipients. The authors propose a theoretical model - the SHARP model - that specifies how sarcasm often helps activate perspective-taking . The authors' model proposes that sarcasm can provide the cognitive readiness and the motivational drive that enable recipients to see the world from the speaker’s viewpoint. Building off findings in psychology and sociology, the authors hypothesize that sarcasm activates two precursors to perspective-taking: deliberate processing and open-mindedness. The authors also discuss three moderators that can reduce sarcasm’s positive effects and even turn them negative. The authors call on future research to empirically test the SHARP model.

Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour