In a recently published study, it was found that when sadness was induced in research participants, they were more likely to forgo larger financial gains – choosing a lesser amount of money, rather than wait for a larger payoff.
The study was actually designed to test two competing hypotheses: (1) that negative emotions, such as sadness, cause people to become more thoughtful and analytic; and, (2) the “myopic misery” hypothesis that negative emotions lead to more impatience and risky behavior.
The results suggest that participants who had sadness induced through watching a sad video clip and writing sad stories were more likely to take a smaller financial reward now, rather than wait for a larger reward, supporting the myopic misery hypothesis.
What are the implications for sad and depressed persons? The researchers suggest that what they call “irrational impatience” caused by sadness may lead to excessive credit card spending and overeating, due to myopic misery and inability to consider the long-term consequences.
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