I saw this last night over on Marginal Revolution – a financial blog I read from time to time and thought I’d post it. Made me think about the book On Being a Theologian of the Cross. One of the complaints I often hear when talking about a “Low Anthropology” or expecting people to behave in selfish and self-seeking ways (as our default) vs. assuming that people are inherently “good” is that I’m too pessimistic. Granted my hope is in something much greater, more real and more hopeful than “ethics,” but how it often plays out on the ground (particularly with Americans) is not being “optimistic enough.” Thought this study was intriguing…..

Does being sad, or complaining, make you smarter?:

I have yet to read this study but I found the summary intriguing:

Bad moods can actually be good for you, with an Australian study finding that being sad makes people less gullible, improves their ability to judge others and also boosts memory.

The study, authored by psychology professor Joseph Forgas at the University of New South Wales, showed that people in a negative mood were more critical of, and paid more attention to, their surroundings than happier people, who were more likely to believe anything they were told.

“Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, cooperation, and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking paying greater attention to the external world,” Forgas wrote.

“Our research suggests that sadness … promotes information processing strategies best suited to dealing with more demanding situations.”

Furthermore:

The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments, which Forgas said showed that a “mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style.”