Unhappy writers are better writers, says psychologist

Dennis Baron debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Thu Nov 5 16:56:57 UTC 2009

There's a new post on the Web of Language:  Unhappy writers are better
writers, says psychologist

All happy writers may be alike, as Tolstoy might have put it, but
unhappy writers write better, according to social psychologist Joe
Forgas of the University of New South Wales. . . .

According to Forgas, psychologists have already shown that unhappy
people "are less prone to judgmental errors, are more resistant to
eyewitness distortions, and are less likely to adopt dysfunctional
selfhandicapping strategies." In addition, evidence suggests that
being in a negative mood leads listeners and readers to perceive
messages more carefully, or, as Forgas puts it in psych-speak,
"positive moods may simply lead to less effortful and systematic
processing, while negative moods promote a more careful, vigilant and
systematic processing style." This explains why happy people read
bestsellers, but literature graduate students are always so depressed.

Read the rest of this post on the Web of Language: http://bit.ly/weblan

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321


read the Web of Language:

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list