Head Lines; February/March 2009; Scientific American Mind; by Siri Carpenter; Rachel Mahan; Clara Moskowitz; Charles Q. Choi; Emily Anthes; Melinda Wenner; Sharon Guynup; Erica Westly; Kurt Kleiner; Nicole Branan; Jeremy Hsu; 8 Page(s)
Lousy day? Don¿t try to think happy thoughts¿just think fast. A new study shows that accelerated thinking can improve your mood. In six experiments, researchers at Princeton and Harvard universities made research participants think quickly by having them generate as many problem-solving ideas (even bad ones) as possible in 10 minutes, read a series of ideas on a computer screen at a brisk pace or watch an I Love Lucy video clip on fast-forward. Other participants performed similar tasks at a relaxed speed.
Results suggested that thinking fast made participants feel more elated, creative and, to a lesser degree, energetic and powerful. Activities that promote fast thinking, then, such as whipping through an easy crossword puzzle or brainstorming quickly about an idea, can boost energy and mood, says psychologist Emily Pronin, the study¿s lead author.