new research identifies role of mood in making decisions
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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New research identifies role of mood in making decisions

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Arab Today, arab today New research identifies role of mood in making decisions

Stanford psychologists.
San Francisco - XINHUA

People tend to engage in unpleasant but necessary activities, such as paying bills or doing housework, when they are in a good mood and choose pleasurable activities as a way to feel better when they are in a bad mood, according to new research by a psychologist at Stanford University.

"These findings clarify how emotions shape behavior and may explain how humans trade off short-term happiness for long-term welfare," said James Gross, a professor of psychology who studies emotions and how people control or regulate their emotions. "Overcoming such trade-offs might be critical for our personal well-being and our survival as a species."

In their study, Gross and his fellow researchers used a smartphone app to randomly survey the activities and moods of more than 60,000 people over an average of 27 days, and found that mood plays a strong role in how people decide to spend their time each day.

Gross and his co-authors of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences call this dynamic "hedonic flexibility," namely people tend to use their good mood as a resource, allowing them to work on challenges, thus delaying short-term gratification for long-term benefits, such as regular sleep, stable employment and a clean, well-organized personal environment, all of which are linked to good mental and physical health.

The study showed that "hedonic flexibility" was consistently practiced in a range of daily choices made by respondents, such as when an upbeat mood helps one endure a long line at, say, the post office or grocery.

Suggesting that the ability of people to leverage a "good" mood to complete important but unpleasant tasks and use a "bad" mood to experience pleasurable activities may hold the key to happiness and well-being, Gross said the research confirms how human emotions shape behavior and may help persons become less focused on short-term pleasure and more centered on long-term stability.

"It could well be that those who are best able to achieve a healthy balance between the pleasurable and unpleasant are more likely to lead happier, more productive lives," he said.

The researchers believe the smartphone app used in the research might one day prove useful as a "self-management" tool for people to work on their "to do" lists based on their existing moods. Once the app is fully tested, the goal is to make it available for public download.

Source : XINHUA

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