Negative experiences nudge you toward more negative steps

By now most people know that negative emotions can make people more cautious and considerate of others. However one form of negative emotions called anhedonia may actually make you more cautious and considerate according to a new study. Researchers studied between-group analyses of a Dynamic Affective Dis-Categorization Questionnaire (DADQ) a commonly used tool used by mental health professionals to assess mental health. Their study indicates that participants who experienced more negative emotions tended to show more frequent occurrence of the ever-deeper feeling of guilt (Neetu Zarati et al. Journals of Gerontology: Series A: Psychological Sciences 2014.

Ever-deeper feeling of guiltDescribes a state of mind in which the feeling goes on and on about ones own failings bad thoughts or misdeeds or about some other ones good qualities. In other words there is a ever-deeper feeling of guilt explains Conor Powell a Ph. D. candidate in psychology from Western University.

Negative emotions may actually help people to take care of their own affective needsThe research team set out to probe whether the negative emotions that observed in participants could be used to help people take care of their own emotional needs. To do so they approached a sample of 669 individuals who participated in previous studies that directly assessed the effect of attributing guilt on the level of distress reported by individuals. Our purpose was to explore whether attributing guilt can be used to measure distress related to anothers ordinary duties in a way that is less biased says the studys first author Naila Khan a Ph. D. candidate in psychology at Western University. The participants were split into two groups: 227 were in the typical group (n 267) and 187 earned bonuses (n 312). The effect of attributing guilt on level of distress was initially encompassed to participants who were in the usual and bonus groups and then examined in the context of perhaps more serious social situations such as interpersonal violence or acts of unreasoning dishonesty.

Partnering with an experimental modelThe researchers found that the effect of attributing guilt on the level of distress was limited to participants who were observed by a partner at home and who already experienced levels of guilt similar to those experienced by the participants. However when the situation was a little different the effect of attributing guilt in the typical group was stronger and extended to the receivers home. Our study results suggest that attributing guilt to ones experience may not be the same as the attributing guilt to ones intentions the Greek scientist explained. It remains to be seen if this recent study result is based on an under-relish of the beliefs underlying attributing guilt or if it reflects a more general influence than this.