The Zoomer Report: Anger and Drive

We usually think of anger as a negative emotion. Now a study finds it can be a potent motivator in increasing a person’s desire to obtain things. Researchers say anger activates an area on the left side of the brain that is associated with many positive emotions. And like positive emotions, anger can drive people to go after something.

Participants watched images of common objects, such as a mug or pen, appear on a computer screen. They were unaware that just before each object appeared, the screen quickly flashed either an angry, fearful or neutral face. These subliminal images tied an emotion to each object.

The participants had to squeeze a handgrip to get an object they wanted, and those who squeezed hardest were more likely to get it. The study found the participants expended more effort to get objects associated with angry faces.

The researchers say this makes sense in terms of human evolution, For example, in situations where there is limited food, people who become aggressive in order to obtain the food are more likely to survive.

The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

Photo © Steve Luker

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About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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