New research suggests sadness might make people shortsighted when it comes to financial decisions, causing individuals to seek immediate gratification rather than waiting for bigger, future rewards.
In the study, participants were assigned to watch a sad video about the death of a boy’s mentor, a disgusting clip featuring a dirty toilet or a neutral video about the Great Barrier Reef. Then, the subjects had to make a series of decisions about getting cash rewards. In each case, they had to decide between taking one sum of money at the end of the session and getting a bigger reward mailed to them in the future.
Those who watched the sad video typically picked the immediate rewards while ignoring greater gains that would require waiting. As such, the sad participants earned significantly less money in the experiments than subjects who watched the neutral clip or disgusting video, the researchers found.
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