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Sorow or Sadness is a mood that displays feeling of disadvantage and loss. Deep immersion in this feeling may lead eventually to depression- a pathological state, which may require intervention by a qualified professional. Usually while in a state of sadness, the person becomes quiet, less energetic and withdraws into oneself. He has neither the urge to go out and be active nor the desire to socialize with others. Visual symptoms of sadness are a downcast appearance of the head, a sloping body, stuck out lips and a slow and weak physical activity. Sadness is considered as an opposite feeling to happiness. Synonyms to this feeling are sorrow, grief, unhappiness, misery, melancholy and gloom. According to the philosopher Baruch Spinoza there are three basic feelings: passion, happiness and sadness. Spinoza defined sadness as the “transfer of a person from a large perfection to a smaller one”.

Sadness and the accuracy of the evaluation

Forgas (1992, 1994) [1] has found that there is an influence of mood on the accuracy of the evaluation of people. This influence may originate from miss-collecting information or from faulty information processing. The main argument regarding miss-collecting information is that biased evaluations are derived from matching to the current mood. For instance: Researchers have found that happy people were inclined to evaluate others in a positive way. In other words, they matched their (positive) evaluation to their (positive) mood. Hence, bias may occur when a person relates to his current mood as a source of information that in turn influences his evaluation.[2]

As previously mentioned, accuracy of evaluation may be affected by directly influencing information processing. It was found that happy people tend to process information in a shorter period of time and more accurately compared to sad people who process information logically, over extended periods of time and less accurately.[3] Several explanations have been provided:
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 would be more relaxed. In contrast, sadness indicates a dangerous social situation that requires more attention and for that reason requires greater and more precise information processing.[4] [5]
Motivational (Isen, 1984) -People in positive mood avoid deep Information processing that may doubt the positive situation they're in. In contrast, people in a sad mood make a lot of effort in order to change the negative situation they're in.
The ability to process information is influenced by mood (Isen, 1987) [6]- Happy people, as opposed to sad people have less cognitional resources required for deep and precise information processing. A study which tried to strengthen this argument showed that resource blocking using distractions, prevented from deep and precise information processing and raised the effectiveness among people in sad mood.[3]

Sadness and status position

Studies revealed that when people recognize the expressed emotion, they tend to attribute additional characteristics to the person expressing that emotion (Halo effect). A happy person surrounds himself with affection characteristics, a sad person is perceived as weak and lacking ability but also as warm and nice[7] and an angry person is perceived as powerful, dominant but also as less warm and less social(Keltner, 1997).

Tiedens's [8] study was trying to explore whether people provide power to people they like or rather to people they perceive as powerful. The study examined handing over social position in political, business and job interview situations. Its findings have revealed that people prefer to give status position and power to an angry leader rather than to a sad one. This finding indicated that people tend to provide power to those perceived by them as powerful instead of to those whom they like. In the business situation a positive statistical correlation was found between sadness and social contribution extent, but those who expressed anger have been perceived as people that one can learn from and therefore deserve status and promotion. In the job interview situation it has been found that the angry person is perceived as more suitable for promotion and high salary compared to a sad person.


External links

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

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