Depression Makes You Better
Would you say you’re a good judge of character? Do you have a great memory? Not easily tricked? Can you clearly and persuasively express yourself in writing? Congratulations, you’re probably a depressed sack of shit! A study conducted at the University of New South Wales, Australia has found that negativity and sadness improve recollection, critical thinking, and attention span. The study’s author, psychology professor Joseph Forgas, claims that sadness gears the brain up for thinking through demanding situations. If news of your depression-fueled cognitive ability has turned your frown upside down, you’ll be happy to learn that your now-positive mood is good for creativity, cooperation, and flexibility. And laziness, or “reliance on mental shortcuts,” as Forgas puts it. So much for The Secret. In one experiment, happy and sad study participants were asked to judge the veracity of an urban legend; the frownies came out on top. When researchers asked the two groups how they made snap judgments, the smiley people were more likely to rely on religious prejudice and racism. And in case it wasn’t clear enough already, Forgas hammers it in once more: “Positive mood is not universally desirable: people in negative mood are less prone to judgmental errors, are more resistant to eyewitness distortions and are better at producing high-quality, effective persuasive messages.”
So next time you meet a bubbly little ray of sunshine, remember that, deep down, they’re just a dumb, belligerent racist.
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