Good moods increase your thinking ability, study says

Cognitive Daily reports on Mood and Memory. They write:

“Do you ever wonder if your mood affects the way you think? I’m not talking about behaving more aggressively when you’re angry or more passively when you’re sad; I’m talking about the subtler impact on cognitive processing. Some recent research has indicated that we process things differently depending on whether we’re in a positive or negative mood. People in good moods tend to make more connections between related items, while people in bad moods generally focus on what’s in front of them.

Thanks to Kevin Larson for sending me this. Kevin works on our Cleartype team and has been doing his own research into how aesthetics effect problem-solving capabilities.

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Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. That reminds me of this: “If you drop a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. If you drop a frog in cool water and slowly heat it up, the frog will stay there until it boils”

  2. That reminds me of this: “If you drop a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. If you drop a frog in cool water and slowly heat it up, the frog will stay there until it boils”

  3. Sorry I call a spade…as this is hippie peace-out experimental psychobabble.

    Grief, Loneliness, Love, Anger, Rage, Kindness, Ego, Envy, Lust and the rest of the full-range of human emotions impact thinking ability too, both positive and negative. Human behavior is so individually fingerprinted as to be impossible to quantify, and pattern reco doesn’t always follow, you see pattens where there are none as it fits the narrow-variabled outlook.

  4. Sorry I call a spade…as this is hippie peace-out experimental psychobabble.

    Grief, Loneliness, Love, Anger, Rage, Kindness, Ego, Envy, Lust and the rest of the full-range of human emotions impact thinking ability too, both positive and negative. Human behavior is so individually fingerprinted as to be impossible to quantify, and pattern reco doesn’t always follow, you see pattens where there are none as it fits the narrow-variabled outlook.

  5. Actually, there’s a lot of scientific research (e.g. University of Michigan) out there on the benefits of positive emotions. It’s more cognitive psychology than “hippie psychobabble”.

  6. Actually, there’s a lot of scientific research (e.g. University of Michigan) out there on the benefits of positive emotions. It’s more cognitive psychology than “hippie psychobabble”.

  7. That depends on the methods employed in the study and most of your readers here would not have the necessary sophistication needed to read a study properly. You would be no different in this regard.

    That isn’t a put down BTW, rather it is that, you do need fairly extensive training in experimental design and research methodology to properly understand studies and very few people have that sort of training. Someone like Jacob Neilson for example is frequently used as an example in how NOT to do research in social research and psychology classes, and very few would understand why that is the case.

    So for example If the guy you mentioned used a correlation analysis then that interpretation would be misleading as a relational type study is not an indicator of causality.

    To illustrate we can make out that the bigger the foot size the more intelligent a person is, which a consistent finding in research and always produces a very high correlation but it is a meanigless finding.

    One doesn’t cause the other; rather it just implies that there is a relationship there. When a baby is born they have small feet and as they grow older then their cognitive capacities develop. Hence the relationship between foot size and IQ and why it doesnt have any real value.

    If he is doing a causal study then lots of things can impact on it depending on the experimental design used and the sampling of his subjects.

    So it would be much better Robert if there was a link to his research somewhere so it could be scrutinized. I understand that for the readability purposes of your blog you don’t want a bunch of academic stuff here, so your post is appropriate in that regard. But at the same time what you say may be very misleading and we have no way of knowing that without seeing the research.

    Your MS buddy may be doing great research, but then again he may not. No way to tell.

  8. That depends on the methods employed in the study and most of your readers here would not have the necessary sophistication needed to read a study properly. You would be no different in this regard.

    That isn’t a put down BTW, rather it is that, you do need fairly extensive training in experimental design and research methodology to properly understand studies and very few people have that sort of training. Someone like Jacob Neilson for example is frequently used as an example in how NOT to do research in social research and psychology classes, and very few would understand why that is the case.

    So for example If the guy you mentioned used a correlation analysis then that interpretation would be misleading as a relational type study is not an indicator of causality.

    To illustrate we can make out that the bigger the foot size the more intelligent a person is, which a consistent finding in research and always produces a very high correlation but it is a meanigless finding.

    One doesn’t cause the other; rather it just implies that there is a relationship there. When a baby is born they have small feet and as they grow older then their cognitive capacities develop. Hence the relationship between foot size and IQ and why it doesnt have any real value.

    If he is doing a causal study then lots of things can impact on it depending on the experimental design used and the sampling of his subjects.

    So it would be much better Robert if there was a link to his research somewhere so it could be scrutinized. I understand that for the readability purposes of your blog you don’t want a bunch of academic stuff here, so your post is appropriate in that regard. But at the same time what you say may be very misleading and we have no way of knowing that without seeing the research.

    Your MS buddy may be doing great research, but then again he may not. No way to tell.

  9. Opps my bad, i misread it and you did indeed link to the article, although not the academic article. For some reason i read it as if your ms friend was doing the research. Sorry about that Robert! Just goes to show i shouldnt read stuff without having a few coffes first.

    Nonetheless that still is a bad study to point to as it just demonstrated how thing can be misrepresented. They are studying relationships and then presenting things in percentages? It doesnt even seem like they used the right statistical methods.

    This would definitely qualify as a great demonstration of how not to present research findings.

  10. Opps my bad, i misread it and you did indeed link to the article, although not the academic article. For some reason i read it as if your ms friend was doing the research. Sorry about that Robert! Just goes to show i shouldnt read stuff without having a few coffes first.

    Nonetheless that still is a bad study to point to as it just demonstrated how thing can be misrepresented. They are studying relationships and then presenting things in percentages? It doesnt even seem like they used the right statistical methods.

    This would definitely qualify as a great demonstration of how not to present research findings.

  11. This would definitely qualify as a great demonstration of how not to present research findings.

    Well said. Great comment. Reminds me of all those paid Marketing studies that show that people that eat, use, buy Brand X, have happier, better more productive lives — they always seem to find a great deal of high-patterned correlations, or all the misleading ROI studies that show an overall matching relationship to cost savings and vendor X.

    Here’s a bad logic example…

    User A is rich and happy, User A uses this product.
    User B is poor and depressesed. User B does not use the product. User B must be sad as has not said product. Therefore, User B needs to use said product, to be happy and rich.

    Replicate that with a narrow enough control group and you can churn out Marketing studies like no tomorrow, saying that Product X makes you rich and happy.

    But patterns don’t equal causality.

  12. This would definitely qualify as a great demonstration of how not to present research findings.

    Well said. Great comment. Reminds me of all those paid Marketing studies that show that people that eat, use, buy Brand X, have happier, better more productive lives — they always seem to find a great deal of high-patterned correlations, or all the misleading ROI studies that show an overall matching relationship to cost savings and vendor X.

    Here’s a bad logic example…

    User A is rich and happy, User A uses this product.
    User B is poor and depressesed. User B does not use the product. User B must be sad as has not said product. Therefore, User B needs to use said product, to be happy and rich.

    Replicate that with a narrow enough control group and you can churn out Marketing studies like no tomorrow, saying that Product X makes you rich and happy.

    But patterns don’t equal causality.

  13. “Good moods increase your thinking ability” is a slightly misleading headline. With bad moods, come more accurate memories, so depending on the context, this could be considered “better” thinking ability. What good moods do is to increase your ability to see connections between items. Sometimes, however, this causes us to see connections which aren’t there, which results in false memory.

  14. “Good moods increase your thinking ability” is a slightly misleading headline. With bad moods, come more accurate memories, so depending on the context, this could be considered “better” thinking ability. What good moods do is to increase your ability to see connections between items. Sometimes, however, this causes us to see connections which aren’t there, which results in false memory.

  15. Thank you for saying that. I get so irritated by people who say think your way to success and they use quantum physics as their proof. Here’s the bottom line of quantum physics…all things are possible however, their probability is low. You would have to be thinking faster(ie frequently) than is humanly possible to get fast results or have a very large group of people thinking the same thing as you frequently. Unless you’re the Borg a collective consciousness is not likely.

  16. Thank you for saying that. I get so irritated by people who say think your way to success and they use quantum physics as their proof. Here’s the bottom line of quantum physics…all things are possible however, their probability is low. You would have to be thinking faster(ie frequently) than is humanly possible to get fast results or have a very large group of people thinking the same thing as you frequently. Unless you’re the Borg a collective consciousness is not likely.