Does Anger Affect Your Judgment? Science Says It Definitely Can In This One Specific Way
Have you ever noticed that, when you're feeling angry during an argument or debate, you feel 100 percent confident in yourself and the points you're making, despite the fact that you're not exactly in the best mindset? Of course, everyone, and I mean everyone loses their temper from time to time, so there's no need to point fingers here. But a new study suggests that anger does affect your judgment in some pretty major ways, so you might want to cool down before you make any big decisions or claims while you're in the heat of the moment, especially if you tend to have a short temper in those situations.
Maybe that's not such a hot take, but the big finding here is that, according to a new study published in the academic psychology journal Intelligence, people who are more prone to anger tend to overestimate their intelligence, specifically, as well as their ability to make decisions. Researchers from the University of Warsaw came to this conclusion via two studies, which included a total of 528 participants, all of whom completed an objective test to measure how prone they are to anger. Then, PsyPost reports, the participants rated their own intelligence on a scale of 25 points, and were later asked to take more objective intelligence tests.
According to PsyPost, before conducting this research, study author Marcin Zajenkowski of the University of Warsaw said he suspected there may be a relationship between a quick temper and a slightly skewed perception of intelligence, and in fact, that's exactly what the results of the two studies showed. He told PsyPost,
I was wondering whether people with high trait anger would manifest a bias in perception of their abilities and competence. Specifically, I tested whether high anger leads to positive intelligence illusion.
Individuals with high trait anger have a tendency to overestimate their abilities, i.e. thinking that they are smarter than they actually are. This part of anger is associated with narcissistic illusions.
But listen, this does not mean people who are prone to anger aren't intelligent; all this really means is, if you have a short temper, those particularly heated moments might mess with your judgment from time to time — but not just in terms of assessing your own intelligence. According to the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, anger triggers the release of stress hormones that can actually change the way your brain works. This can also negatively affect your cardiovascular system, your digestive system, and your immune system. In other words, anger doesn't really do much good for your mind or your body.
The truth is, everyone gets angry from time to time, and if you're a little more prone to losing your temper than others, there's no reason why you need to beat yourself up for it. The real goal is learning to recognize those moments when you're losing your head a bit, and understanding how those angry emotions can affect you. "Anger seems to enhance a person’s sense of personal confidence in their innocence and the guilt of the person they are angry at, even if this isn’t reflected in reality," counselor and relationship expert David Bennett tells Elite Daily over email. "Anger also seems to increase a person’s overall positive view of themselves, making them believe more positive things about themselves than they would if they weren’t angry."
So the next time you find yourself with that internal bubble of rage hovering inside your chest, do your best to take a step back from the situation before you make any irrational judgments or decisions. Take a few deep breaths to calm down, put on a few songs that relax you, and find some healthy distance from the situation that has you feeling so worked up. I promise, your anger will pass, and it most definitely doesn't make you any less intelligent.