If you’re feeling like a sourpuss today, it may not be a reason to frown.
For, according to research, being grumpy makes us better at decision-making and less gullible.
In contrast, those annoying happy types who tell us to cheer up tend to make more mistakes because they’ll believe anything they’re told.
The revelations come from a psychology expert who has been studying the effects of positive and negative emotions.
Professor Joseph Forgas found those in a bad mood provide more accurate eyewitness accounts of events than those in a good mood.
A series of experiments also backed up his findings that the grumpier we are, the more likely we are to get problems sorted out and make less errors.
‘Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world,’ Professor Forgas writes in this month’s Australian Science Journal.
A sad person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain ‘promotes information processing strategies’, he says.
His experiments included asking people to judge the truth of urban myths after putting them into good or bad moods through watching films.
The sad group were less likely to believe the stories.
Professor Forgas, of the University of New South Wales, also found negativity promoted better communication.
One fictional character to embrace grumpiness was Victor Meldrew played by Richard Wilson in BBC TV series One Foot in the Grave.
The archetypal grumpy old man became famous for saying, ‘I don’t believe it!’