What Winning at Cards Against Humanity Says About You

What Winning at Cards Against Humanity Says About You

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Erin Quinlan
May 30, 2016
(Image credit: Cards Against Humanity)

If friends have yet to beat you in Cards Against Humanity, congratulations: your mind is in the gutter and your people skills are off the charts.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Union College psychology researcher Christopher Chabris describes the ribald party game as “a brilliant exercise in social intelligence.”

A rules refresher for anyone who's forgotten:

[P]layers earn points by coming up with the best ways to complete sentences like “But before I kill you, Mr. Bond, I must show you…” or “Why am I sticky?” The catch: You have just 10 possible answers, each printed on a white card, and you have to pick one. There is no ad-libbing and no objectively correct answer: Each round’s winner is decided by the “card czar,” the player who read the question or the fill-in-the-blank sentence. The czar answers only to his own sense of humor, and his decisions are final.

In other words, victory doesn't come from off-color cleverness alone; the secret sauce is empathy. Writes Chabris:

[Y]ou must size up other people’s sense of humor—and the limits of their knowledge. If you’re playing with grad-school friends, answering the James Bond prompt with the card “heteronormativity” is a great play. If your grandfather is the czar, it probably isn’t.

And for those of us struggling with weak emotional ESP? Repeat play may help. Chabris says this kind of game “will stretch your mind, and your social skills, in unusual directions.”

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