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