Hurray! I’m grumpy
Does your mood influence your decisions? Yes, in a good mood you would probably buy the gorgeous red high heels that look so good on you; only to discover afterwards that you can’t walk in them. In a bad mood you would probably have realized that they are uncomfortable. And you would definitely not have been that easily convinced by the glee of the salesperson.
Well, science now confirms our gut feelings. Being grumpy makes us think more clearly. And when we are happy we are more careless and lack attention to detailed information. Conclusion? In a potentially dangerous situation or when important decisions are to be taken we could benefit from a bad mood. So hurray, for the grumpy ones among us: a bad mood also has its sunny sides.
This utterly refreshing view comes from Australia. Psychologist Joe Forgas of the University of New South Wales has been studying emotions for years. For this study he did several experiments with a test group who were already in a good or bad mood. There was positive and negative feedback on a (fake) test the volunteers had to do. He also asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life. The moods were tested before the experiments started.
Those in a bad mood outperformed those who were jolly – they made fewer mistakes and were better communicators. While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness, the psychologist explains. A negative mood produces a thinking style that is more detailed and oriented towards the external world. Happy people focus more on their own desires and make snap judgments. Their superficiality is explained by evolutionary logic – if there is no threat and you feel safe and you lower your guard.
Do you make better decisions when you are in bad mood?