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Does Anger Cloud or Clear Thinking

Classically, anger is blamed for flawed thinking since it tends to alter perception of risk, increase prejudice, and trigger aggression. However, new studies suggest that anger may, in fact, prompt more careful and rational analysis of another person’s reasoning.

Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara published the results of three recent experiments in the latest issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, an official publication of The Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Wesley G. Moons and Diane M. Mackie looked at research investigating anger’s impact on thinking and decision-making. In the studies, college students were exposed to arguments attempting to persuade them to unpopular viewpoints.

Beforehand, some were asked to write about an experience that had angered them. The research found that, surprisingly, anger made participants more, rather than less, rational and analytical in their reactions.

The current research, conclude the authors, suggests that angry people can and do process information analytically but are often influenced by more mental shortcuts. Although it is not always the case, anger-induced action is sometimes the result of quite clear-minded and deliberative processing.

Source: SAGE Publications

Does Anger Cloud or Clear Thinking

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Does Anger Cloud or Clear Thinking. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from
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Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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