Bad mood gives us an advantage.  How to use it?

It can be difficult to meet someone who has never had a bad mood in their life. Researchers from the University of Arizona decided to better understand the topic, and the conclusions were published in the pages boundaries in communication.

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Researchers have found that people with poor mental health can notice inaccuracies in what they read or listen to more quickly. These types of dependencies are linked to the way our brains process language, and a bad mood seems to affect them the most.

As Jos van Berkum of Utrecht University points out, we usually associate a depressed mood with feeling angry, “eating”, or biased interpretation of the statements of the people around us. In fact, there are much broader implications at stake. This includes the altered ability of the human brain to perform certain actions.

If we tried to sum up the conclusions of the study authors in one sentence, it would go something like this: When our mood is worse, we become more careful and more analytical. This, in turn, increases our tendency to focus on what we are reading or listening to in the moment.

A bad mood seems to reward us for a more thorough analysis of what we read or hear

However, before the scientists came to the above conclusion, they invited people who were going to watch a sad movie or a funny series to participate in the experiment. Their mood was also assessed through a survey – before and after the examination. It turned out that while the funny material had no effect on the volunteers’ moods, the sad material was associated with a tendency for their mental health to deteriorate.

The next part of the study involved listening to emotionally neutral recordings of four different stories, each containing a formula that either confirmed or disproved the participants’ knowledge of certain facts. The sentence was displayed on a computer screen while the participants’ brain waves were monitored using EEG.

Example? You can see more with the lights on Placed at the end of the driving story. Later, in connection with another story – this time with reference to the stars – there is a sentence which indicates something quite the opposite, viz. You can see less with the lights off. Over time, the authors have begun to blend these issues so that they don’t make sense in relation to the story.

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The main step in the experiment was to find out how the brain reacts to these errors. Interesting, of course, are the links between mood and participants’ ability to spot errors. As it turned out, bad moods were linked to brain activity dedicated to the ability to reanalyze. Remarkably, it was noticeable even in the same people – once in a negative mood, and again in a positive one. Summing up, we can see that this ability is not caused by personal inclinations, but by the prevailing mood at a given moment.

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