Anger: Does it motivate us?

Anger is one of the 7 basic emotions and is universally expressed the same way across all people of all cultures.

Many people may tend to think of anger as a “negative” emotion- one that we should be discouraged from having, as it may cause disagreements or hurt feelings among others.

However, Dr. Matsumoto states that people should avoid labeling emotions as “good” or “bad”.

Bottom line, emotions, including anger, are immediate, automatic, unconscious reactions to things that happen around us.  Plus, we would probably all agree that its not bad to feel anger towards someone that tries to steal your purse or harm you or your family.  It all depends on the context in which the emotion occurs.

What is important is being able to label the emotion correctly and act appropriately.

A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, investigated the effects of anger.

The article entitled “The Art of Anger: Reward Context Turns Avoidance Responses to Anger-Related Objects Into Approach” highlighted a study conducted by Henk Aarts of Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

Aarts and his team of researchers discovered that “associating an object with anger actually makes people want the object—a kind of motivation that’s normally associated with positive emotions“.  Interestingly, if Aart’s findings are correct, they suggest that anger motivates individuals.

Aart states that he believes that their findings are the “result of basic biological motivation in a competitive environment”.

You can read more about the study and their methodology here.

What do you think? Have you found that anger motivates you in a positive way?

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