Sadness is an emotion characterized by feelings of disadvantage, loss, and helplessness. When sad, people often become quiet, less energetic, and withdrawn. Sadness is considered to be the opposite of happiness, and is similar to the emotions of sorrow, grief, misery, and melancholy. The philosopher Baruch Spinoza defined sadness as the “transfer of a person from a large perfection to a smaller one.”

Sadness can be viewed as a temporary lowering of mood (feeling blue), whereas clinical depression is characterized by a persistent and intense lowered mood, as well as disruption to one's ability to function in day to day matters.

adness and the accuracy of evaluation

Evidence presented by Forgas (1992, 1994) [ [ Cat.Inist ] ] suggests that our mood has an influence on how accurately we evaluate each other. The effect on our accuracy might be a result of faulty information processing where a person may take his current mood as a source of information. He would then use this biased information as a bases for his evaluation. [ [ Mood effects on person-perception judgments. [J Pers Soc Psychol. 1987 - PubMed Result ] ] For instance, happy people are inclined to evaluate others in a positive way, and sad people are inclined to evaluate people in a negative way.

Sad people have been found to be less accurate than happy people in their evaluations, as well as taking a longer period of time for the evaluation. ] Several explanations for this have been postulated:

* "Functional (Forgas, 1998)" – Mood indicates a social situation that in turn enables specific behaviors. Therefore, happiness indicates a positive social situation in which the behavior is more relaxed. In contrast, sadness indicates a dangerous social situation that requires more attention and for that reason requires greater information processing. [ [ On feeling good and getting your way: mood effects... [J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 - PubMed Result ] ] [ [ On being happy and mistaken: mood effects on the f... [J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 - PubMed Result ] ]

* "Motivational (Isen, 1984)" -People in a positive mood avoid deep information processing that may cause them to doubt the positive situation they are in. In contrast, people in a sad mood strive to change the negative situation they are in.

* "The ability to process information is influenced by mood (Isen, 1987)" [ [ Positive affect facilitates creative problem solvi... [J Pers Soc Psychol. 1987 - PubMed Result ] ] - Happy people require less cognitional resources for deep and precise information processing than sad people. One study showed that resource blocking through use of distractions prevented people from deep and precise information processing and raised the comparative effectiveness of people in a sad mood.]

adness and status

Studies have found that when people recognize an expressed emotion, they tend to attribute additional characteristics to the person expressing that emotion (Halo effect). A happy person, therefore is perceived warmly whereas a sad person is perceived as weak and lacking ability [ [ GPR0203320.tif ] ] and an angry person is perceived as powerful and dominant (Keltner, 1997).

Tiedens's [ [ Anger and advancement versus sadness and subjugati... [J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 - PubMed Result ] ] study explored whether people provide power to people they like or rather to people they perceive as powerful. The study, which examined social position in political, business and job interview situations, found that people prefer to give status position and power to an angry leader rather than to a sad one. People tend to give power to those perceived as powerful instead of to those whom they like. For example, in the business world, a positive statistical correlation was found between sadness and the extent of a person's social contribution, however angry people were perceived more deserving of status and promotion. Similarly, in the job interviews, angry people were perceived as more suitable for promotion and high salary than sad people.

ee also

*Depression (mood)



* [ Tiedens, 2001]
* [ Ambady & Gray, 2002]
* [ Forgas, 1998]
* [ Forgas, 1998]
* [ Forgas, 1992, 1994]
* [ Forgas & Bower, 1987]
* [ Isen, 1987]
* [ Keltner et al., 1998]
* [ EmO]

Further reading

* [,D Keltner, PC Ellsworth, K.Edwards - J Pers Soc Psychol, 1993]
* [,R Raghunathan, MT Pham - Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 1999]
* [, D Keltner, PC Ellsworth, K Edwards - J Pers Soc Psychol, 1993]

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