Archive for November, 2010
Quite a while ago I blogged about Learned Helplessness and I followed it up with an unsettling video in which at teacher induced learned helplessness in half a class by making them attempt impossible anagrams. So I was interested to find out about another bit of research which used impossible anagrams to get students into a bad mood.
In one of a pair of experiments by Webb et al. (2010) students were given impossible anagrams that they were told were easy in order to get them frustrated and annoyed.
Following this, they were presented with scenarios representing various opportunities for risky behaviour. The grumpy students were more likely to consider engaging in risky behaviour than the non-grumpy control group.
None of this is particularly surprising. It is reasonably well known that negative moods can lead to poor decision-making and unhelpful behaviours.
I have just finished reading A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freeman. I have a feeling that this is a marmite book. Some people (like me) will love it and others will hate it. I can even predict who will hate it; the people whom the book refers to as the ‘neat police’ — the people who insist on clean desk policies and colour-coded filing systems.
This book pleads the case for the potential benefits of disorder. It also highlights the hidden costs of an over-emphasis on neatness, from the expense of maintaining rigid categorisation systems to the dangers to health of obsessive cleanliness. It provides much needed support for those of us who are ‘differently-organised’ as we attempt to fend off those who seem intent on decluttering our lives.
The topics range (in a predictably messy way) from office desks to transport systems, from business to science, from education to politics.