Livin' on the MDedge

It’s all about the brains: Guilt placebos, transplants, and negative feelings


 

Ambivalence rules!

As the office’s unofficial Sith lord/Star Wars nerd, LOTME takes notice when science extols the benefits of unhappiness: “It’s good to be grumpy: Bad moods make us more detail-oriented, study shows.”

Ryan Franco/Unsplash

The investigators manipulated the emotions of participants by having them watch a clip from “Sophie’s Choice” or one from “Friends.” Then the subjects listened to short, emotionally neutral stories, some of which contained inconsistencies, with the text displayed on a computer screen. Sorry to say, gang at Central Perk, but round one went to the sad movie.

“When people are in a negative mood, they are more careful and analytical. They scrutinize what’s actually stated in a text, and they don’t just fall back on their default world knowledge,” lead author Vicky Lai, PhD, of the University of Arizona said in a statement from the school.

Negative mood. Careful and analytical. Grumpy is good.

You’ve fallen into Darth Science’s little trap, and we have you now.

A study conducted at the University of Geneva offers a slightly different conclusion. And by slightly different, we mean completely different. People over age 65 who watched a series of short TV clips depicting people in a state of emotional suffering experienced excessive modification of their neuronal connections, compared with those who watched emotionally neutral videos.

The brains of these subjects remained “frozen in a negative state by relating the suffering of others to their own emotional memories,” lead author Sebastian Baez Lugo said in a written release from the university.

Emotional suffering. Frozen brains. Grumpy is … not good?

So there you have it. Darth Science’s lesson for the day: A negative mood makes you careful and analytical, but negative thoughts are bad for your brain.

Pages

Recommended Reading

Have you heard the one about the cow in the doctor’s office?
MDedge Internal Medicine
All the National Health Service wants for Christmas is tea and biscuits
MDedge Internal Medicine
Bad breath? Mouthwash is out. Yogurt is in.
MDedge Internal Medicine
Medical practice gave 8,000 patients cancer for Christmas
MDedge Internal Medicine
Early retirement and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad cognitive decline
MDedge Internal Medicine