Maybe you need to proofread something or follow directions to build some furniture, scientists say you’ll do a much better job if you’re in a bad mood. Having to build that dining set or shelving unit may help to put you in that bad mood, which would be beneficial.
Researchers at the University of Arizona have found a link between a person’s mood and their ability to excel at detail-oriented tasks. Their study has discovered that the worse the mood you’re in, the better off you’ll be in accomplishing that task most effectively.
Vicky Lai, an assistant professor of psychology and cognitive science at the University of Arizona, and scientists in the Netherlands studied how the brain processes information depending on what emotional state a person is in.
A group of test subjects was asked to watch clips of upbeat material specifically, the TV show “Friends,” and then they watch something sad and depressing, the movie “Sophie’s Choice.” They were then asked to analyze specifics in a spoken word story. They found that those who were negatively impacted by the Meryl Streep flick did a better job in the analytical test.
Lai says, “We show that when people are in a negative mood, they are more careful and analytical. They scrutinize what’s actually stated in a text, and they don’t just fall back on their default world knowledge.” She also shared, “Mood and language seem to be supported by different brain networks. But we have one brain, and the two are processed in the same brain, so there is a lot of interaction going on,”
Researcher Jos van Berkum of the Netherlands’ Utrecht University, co-authored the study and shared, “When thinking about how mood affects them, many people just consider things like being grumpy, eating more ice cream, or, at best interpreting somebody else’s talk in a biased way.”
So the next time you have to do something that you feel may require a lot of brain power, get sad or angry before you attempt to take on that task.
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