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Happy? You’re selfish, gullible and forgetful March 1, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Health, Sex / Relationships.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s something you don’t hear every day – Ed Diener, a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, thinks “it is wrong to say that it is always good to be happy”.

This is because happy people are generally more inward-thinking, making them more selfish and careless.

And Mr Diener isn’t alone in his thoughts either.  Psychologist Joe Forgas and his team recently held a study involving over one hundred students, to study the affects of positive and negative moods.

There were two different kinds of experiments.  In the first, students were either given praise or criticism on a fake cognitive test.  In the second, one group were treated to a 10-minute clip of the British TV comedy Fawlty Towers, whilst the other half endured a passage from the gloomy film Angela’s Ashes.

At the end of both experiments, after taking questionnaires to verify their moods, students were given raffle tickets and asked whether they wished to share them with a hypothetical student.  In both cases, the happy students were less likely to share compared to the unhappy students.

“People in a positive mood generally rely more on their own thoughts and preferences, and pay less attention to the outside world and social norms,” says Forgas.

“A negative mood produces a thinking style that is more detailed and attentive, and pays more attention to the demands of the external environment.”

This latest finding adds to a wealth of data suggesting that being happy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In previous studies, Forgas has found that happy people are less able to develop a persuasive argument, more gullible and worse at remembering objects in a shop window than their unhappy fellows.

Happy people are also more likely to be influenced by stereotypes, says Forgas: in another study, happy non-Muslim Australians were more likely to make snap negative judgements about – and even to shoot – computer images of people in traditional Muslim dress.

So next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, remember – misery does come with benefits!



1. Zero - March 19, 2010

I found your blog by searching a saying I heard that forgetful people are happy. This definitely holds true in my experiences.

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