A university research project has concluded that getting angry can be helpful when it comes to solving puzzles and playing games.
The Texas A&M University study indicates that an angry person will outperform an emotionally neutral person when faced with a challenging task.
More than 1,000 undergraduate students took part in experiments involving anagrams and video games.
Prior to solving a challenging puzzle, participants were shown images known to elicit anger, desire, amusement, sadness or no particular emotion at all.
Those who had been presented with the anger-provoking image did better than those who viewed the other photos.
These differences were not present when it came to solving easier anagrams, leading the study’s authors to surmise that this may be due to a link between anger and greater persistence.
Likewise, when playing a skiing video game where the goal was to dodge flags, participants who were in the ‘angry’ group did better than those in the ‘sad’ and ‘neutral’ groups. They were also on a par with those in the ‘amusement’ and ‘desire’ categories.
The leader of the study, Professor Heather Lench, said: “People often prefer to use positive emotions as tools. Our research adds to the growing evidence that a mix of positive and negative emotions promotes wellbeing, and that using negative emotions as tools can be particularly effective in some situations.”