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Author Topic: Anger Fuels Better Decisions  (Read 2703 times)

Lead Dog

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Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« on: June 11, 2007, 01:52:09 PM »
The next time you are plagued with indecision and need a clear way out, it might help to get angry, according to a surprising new study.

Despite its reputation as an impetus to rash behavior, anger actually seems to help people make better choices—even aiding those who are usually very poor at thinking rationally. This could be because angry people base their decisions on the cues that "really matter" rather than things that can be called irrelevant or a distraction.

Previous research has shown that anger biases people’s thinking—turning them into bigger risk-takers and making them less trusting and more prejudiced, for instance.

But little has been done to study how, exactly, anger affects a person’s thinking.

So Wesley Moons, a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his colleague Diana Mackie designed three experiments to determine how anger influences thinking—whether it makes people more analytical or careful about their decisions, or whether it leads people to make faster, rasher decisions.

In the first experiment, the researchers induced anger in a group of college students by either asking them to write about a past experience that had made them very angry, or by having their stated hopes and dreams harshly criticized by another participant. In a second group of students, anger was not induced.

The researchers later checked to be sure that the subjects were as riled up as they were supposed to be.

The two groups were then asked to read either compelling or weak arguments designed to convince them that college students have good financial habits. The strong argument cited research from numerous scientific studies, whereas the weak argument contained largely unsupported statements. The subjects were asked to logically evaluate the strength of the arguments they read and indicate how convinced they were by them.
The researchers repeated the experiment with a second group of students, this time giving the subjects an additional piece of information: who had made the arguments. Some students were told that the argument was made by an organization with relevant expertise in financial matters; others were told that the argument was made by a medical organization whose expertise was irrelevant to the financial topic being considered.

In both studies, the researchers found that the angry subjects were better at discriminating between strong and weak arguments and were more convinced by the stronger arguments. Those who were not made to feel angry tended to be equally convinced by both arguments, indicating that they were not as analytical in their assessments.

The angry students were also better at weighing the arguments appropriately depending on which organization had made them.

The researchers repeated the experiment a third time using a different argument—one that supported the implementation of a university-wide requirement for graduating seniors to take comprehensive exams. This time, they tested only those subjects who were the least analytical, or in other words, those who were the least likely to make logical decisions. This way, the researchers would be able to see whether anger also makes typically non-analytical thinkers more analytical.

Once again, they found that the angry subjects were better able to discriminate between strong and weak arguments than the ones who were not angry—suggesting that anger can transform even those people who are, by disposition, not very analytical into more careful thinkers.

Their findings, detailed in this month’s issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggest that anger helps people focus on the cues that matter most to making a rational decision and ignore cues that are irrelevant to the task of decision-making.

This could be because anger is designed to motivate people to take action—and that it actually helps people to take the right action, the authors wrote.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20070611/sc_livescience/angerfuelsbetterdecisions

Offline Holly

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2007, 02:59:39 PM »
Great post, Lead Dog!   :thumbsup:

I don't know if I make better decisions when I get angry.  I don't get really angry very often.  The few times I have, I made some pretty irreversible decisions that changed the course of my life and the lives of some others.  Maybe those were good decisions, maybe not!  I really don't know because I don't know what my life would be like now if I had NOT made those particular decisions.  It's interesting to think about, though!

What is your personal opinion, LD?
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

HazeyWolf

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2007, 03:03:38 PM »
Wait - better get him angry first, Holly, so his analytical brain is activated... yank his chain or pull his tail or somethin'...
Why do I get the feeling this study was conducted by someone with anger managment issues?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 06:32:10 PM by Swede »

Lead Dog

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2007, 03:06:07 PM »
Like you, I don't get too animated so I'm not sure if I make better decisions when angry or not.  I am analytical to the point of being anal, so I don't like to rush decisions.

I haven't seen to many people at work make good decisions when angry either.

But who knows?

Offline Holly

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2007, 03:09:00 PM »
Lead Dog, I've never noticed you being too anal!  :whistle:  :grin:  :kiss:
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

HazeyWolf

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2007, 03:10:33 PM »

Lead Dog

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2007, 03:14:14 PM »
"Anger, fear, aggression, the Dark Side are they."

Offline Holly

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2007, 03:27:14 PM »
A very wise man once told me "Everything in moderation!"  :whistle:

Oh, all right!  He tells me that every time I get all wrought up over something, which is like...oh...darn it, pretty often! :blush:
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

Lead Dog

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2007, 03:43:49 PM »
Wise man or wise guy?

HazeyWolf

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2007, 03:45:17 PM »
Was it Oscar Wilde, Holly?

Offline Holly

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2007, 03:47:02 PM »
Most definitely a wise guy!  :P :hugegrin:
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

Offline Holly

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2007, 03:47:35 PM »
Was it Oscar Wilde, Holly?

Ummmmm...yeah.  That was the guy!  :woot:
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

Lead Dog

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2007, 03:47:58 PM »
:P

Offline Holly

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2007, 03:53:25 PM »
Okay, I really want to know if others think they make better decisions when they are really angry (not just miffed, irritated, annoyed, P.O'd, crabby, cranky, PMSing, moody, emotional, grouchy, cantankerous, ornery, grumpy, surly, tetchy, cross, petulant, argumentative, or quarrelsome)  :thumbsup:
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

Offline crazy stick

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2007, 03:59:57 PM »
i dont know..... I am sure their studies concluded that, but i think its different for each person, and especially what kinda decision it is, and what other feelings they have besides anger.

crazy study though!

taken by the wind...

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2007, 04:08:56 PM »
as long as your head is clear, and you aren't under the influence of drugs, or others, then I do believe we think pretty clear when we are angry. Epinephrine sharpens our awareness... (fight or flight.)  when we choose the fight.   :box:

~ sometimes its good to steep your spirit in pure intuition...
for it is older and wiser than logic and reason.  :arigato:

then again, I'm not sure, let's ask Miss Underwood ...   :woot: 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 04:24:38 PM by taken by the wind... »

Offline Forlorn_Hope

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2007, 04:22:32 PM »
I don't know, like CS, when I fought in the ring or in the streets the best way was to make the other guy angry...the angryer the better he would loose rational thinking and just want to get at me, animal instinct looking for that haymaker I guess. Stronger, wilder punches, kicks, rushes and so on but duller in strategy, wore himself out faster... then he was my B.........
My teacher always said use the energy of the emotion but not the emotion itself... it clouds your mind... can't say in a classroom situation it would be different other than the intensity of the anger, being PO could make you less likely to pull any punches from a debate, make your point stronger but going onto and giving in to anger well....
The few time I gave in to anger I blacked out... came back to clarity later on... but in the mean time I was someone elses B..........
Maybe just me
"Once more unto the breach"- Henry V

Offline Forlorn_Hope

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 04:29:21 PM »
Look at the UFC fighters ( no I'm not in their class) clear head prevail, if anger was to prevail wouldn't it be there? Resolution carries the day unless that unseen shot, go figure?
"Once more unto the breach"- Henry V

HazeyWolf

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 04:36:05 PM »
No. I don't buy into the conclusions of that study.  There are plenty of others "studies" which suggest the opposite... I've known a few people who are "hot-headed" and don't excercise any control over their anger - To me they're all ugly, undignified and selfish people, but they may have bio/chemical problems... even so, they can learn to control themselves but don't.  If some hightened analytic ability actually does take place, then it could  explain why some people allowthemselves to go ballistic - they get an emotional release, assert their ego and thwart others, and may actually have moments of greater analytical or intellectual clarity...

The study sited above suggests that the subjects "anger" was stimulated by asking them to remember an aggrivating experience and intensely questioning or criticising their opinons, which would obviously activate a persons critcal thinking in a defensive way.

It seems to me that the participants were being asked to justify their reasons for being angry by describing a past event that riled them up... Of course they're going to try to use reason to explain why they are right and someone else is wrong, and that an injustice had been done to them.  They're rationalizeing reasons to justify their emotions... The second study was a little different though...  I don't think better critical thinking is related to anger specifically, but to a complex model of justice that's been violated - that's where the emotion comes in, as a sympton or effect of the violation of an assumed set of social laws. I don't know - its hard to tell how much merit the study deserves - there isn't enough information to weigh its validity...

You're all right about the "fight or flight" andrenaline response though - it can powerfully sharpen physical responses, but it can also lead to bad decisions when in panic mode.




HazeyWolf

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Re: Anger Fuels Better Decisions
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2007, 04:59:47 PM »
as long as your head is clear, and you aren't under the influence of drugs, or others, then I do believe we think pretty clear when we are angry.

As long as ones' head is clear - sure, I guess that means that one's emotions haven't over-ridden one's reason and responsibile actions.  We're all always under the influence of drugs though, and limited in our perceptions.  Food, Caffeine, sugar, vitamins, oxygen, hormones, TV News, colors, music, fantasy, etc... are all drugs - they all impact our physiology and mental state.  Generally I don't think we're very "clear" at all, as a species - not only are our perceptions (senses) physically limited in their ability to discern reality, but we project emotions onto every perception and prejudge everything.

Intuition is something... its often not operable though - it usually requires application of investigation, reason, and evidence on a "hunch" before anyone will accept intuitive judgments or actions as having operable veracity.  Hmmm.  Yah, Let's ask Ms. Underwood -lol : http://tanoryland.blogspot.com/2007/05/carrie-underwood-arrested.html  (its just a joke)...