Sad students outperform happy students, say British researchers. From The Telegraph:
Academics found that children who had just watched sad film scenes performed better in mental tests than those who had enjoyed a feelgood clip.
The research, carried out at the University of Plymouth, found children who were in a negative or neutral mood were more likely to be questioning and critical in their thinking, assisting them in tasks which required close attention.
Those who were feeling happy and carefree were more likely to gloss over details and therefore more prone to error.
A good mood boosts creativity and imagination, said Dr. Simone Schnall, the lead researcher. A negative or neutral mood improves concentration.
“Research has shown that when it comes to the broader picture, or creative tasks, the confidence that comes with a good mood helps performance,” she said. “Our study shows that a negative mood can be useful. It tells us to pay attention. It warns us there is a risk of something going wrong and that caution can help children to perform better.”
However, Dr Schnall suggested that there was no need actively to enforce misery as part of the school curriculum.
Oh. Good. Let it happen naturally.
But the research may undermine the British government’s “happiness agenda,” The Telegraph suggests. Schools are being urged to teach “lessons in emotional literacy” to improve children’s confidence — and decrease their thinking skills.