Does anger lead to better decision making?

By: Jacob Silverman

Anger Experiments

T­he experiment was run again, but this time students were told who had written the arguments, either a company experienced with financial concerns or a medical organization. The intention was that those who were told that the finance company authored a statement would be biased towards favoring that statement -- no matter its quality. On the other hand, a statement authored by a medical organization would seem less credible.

In the end, the results of both tests showed that angry students were more successful than the control group of neutral students at picking out the stronger arguments.


The tests seemed to support the researchers' assertions, but they decided to be more rigorous. In the third and final test, students completed a written assessment to determine their analytical ability. Those who were deemed less analytically inclined were divided from those who appeared more analytical. The less analytical subjects were presented with arguments about introducing mandatory comprehensive exams for graduating college students, an idea that was believed to be quite unpopular. Among the less analytical subjects, the angry ones were better at distinguishing strong from weak arguments. The neutral subjects didn't show any increase in analytic ability.

We'll examine the conclusions drawn by Dr. Moons and Dr. Mackie about anger and decision making in the next section.