Jul 092009

Research out of the University of Toronto (my school!) suggests being in good moods lead to a more global, forest-seeing perspective rather than focusing on the trees. Choice quote:

“Under positive moods, people may process a greater number of objects in their environment, which sounds like a good thing, but it also can result in distraction,” said Taylor Schmitz, a graduate student of Anderson’s and lead author of the study. “Good moods enhance the literal size of the window through which we see the world. The upside of this is that we can see things from a more global, or integrative perspective. The downside is that this can lead to distraction on critical tasks that require narrow focus, such as operating dangerous machinery or airport screening of passenger baggage. Bad moods, on the other hand, may keep us more narrowly focused, preventing us from integrating information outside of our direct attentional focus.”

Personally I’ve noticed that I work the best/most when I am a little bit serious rather than my normal happy self. Maybe I can start depressing myself a bit before I sit down to work.