The following article, Anger Pushes People To Achieve Goals, Contrary To Popular Belief, was first published on Flag And Cross.
<img src="https://storage.googleapis.com/prod-zenger-storage/image/c6f29ddf-0b77-4eef-b73e-084adff87b3c.jpg" alt="Writing for the American Psychological Association, a team of experts said it’s better to have a combination of emotions rather than pure happiness. PHOTO BY DAVID GARRISON/PEXELS “>
Anger can motivate people to achieve life goals, suggests a new study.
The findings challenge the popular perception that anger is a negative emotion.
Writing for the American Psychological Association, a team of experts said it’s better to have a combination of emotions rather than pure happiness.
They found that anger pushed people to perform better on difficult games. However, the emotion appeared to have no bearing on their skills when it came to simpler tasks.
Anger was also the motivation for some people to vote, according to data from the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
It did not, however, have any bearing on which candidate’s name they put in the ballot box.
Summarising the discovery, Professor Heather Lench, Texas A&M University, said: “People often believe that a state of happiness is ideal, and the majority of people consider the pursuit of happiness a major life goal.
“The view that positive emotion is ideal for mental health and well-being has been prominent in lay and psychological accounts of emotion but previous research suggests that a mix of emotions, including negative emotions like anger, result in the best outcomes.”
Some psychologists argue that all emotions, good or bad are reactions to events surrounding a person and alert them to important situations which they need to act on.
According to the functionalist theory of emotion, each emotion may call for a different response.
Sadness could indicate a person needs help or emotional support – anger could reveal they need to overcome an obstacle.
To add some data to the theory, the Texas A&M team took 1,000 people and showed them images to elicit from them either an emotional response or a neutral state.
The emotions included anger, amusement, sadness or desire and participants were then presented with a difficult task.
In one, the group was individually asked to solve a series of word puzzles. In another, they had to reach a high score on skiing video games.
One game involved challenging play, avoiding flags on a slalom course. The other was easier – they just had to complete one jump.
The experts discovered that angry participants were more likely to reach their goals, versus a neutral condition.
In some cases, anger was linked with higher scores and faster reactions and during one game angry people even started to cheat for gain.
However, anger only influenced their play when the game was hard.
The emotion did not appear to be linked with the simple goals of the ski-jump video game.
Professor Lench said: “These findings demonstrate that anger increases effort toward attaining a desired goal, frequently resulting in greater success.
“People often prefer to use positive emotions as tools more than negative and tend to see negative emotions as undesirable and maladaptive.
“Our research adds to the growing evidence that a mix of positive and negative emotions promotes well-being, and that using negative emotions as tools can be particularly effective in some situations.”
Further research was conducted – the team analyzed data from a series of surveys collected during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Before ballots were cast, people were asked how angry they would be if their favorite candidate did not win.
After the election, they reported whether they voted and for whom they voted.
Participants who said they would be angry if their favorite candidate did not win were more likely to vote.
That said, anger had no effect on who they voted for, according to the research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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