We all experience our feelings differently – and most of the time, when we feel sad, we are more impulsive.

In the movie “Inside Out”, emotions are turned into people. This concept inspired researchers to create a study that explored the effects of “anthropomorphic thinking, thinking of emotions as people” (“A new strategy”, 2019).

The researchers asked participants to write about a time they felt very sad – one group wrote about the sadness as if it were a person by describing its appearance and disposition, while the other group wrote about the impacts of the sadness. Then, the participants rated their “sadness on a scale of one to seven”. It was found that participants that made their sadness into a person, thus separating the emotion from themselves, felt less sad (“A new strategy”, 2019).

Some of these manifestations of sadness looked like a pale person with no smile, or a sad girl with their head down. Even when participants were asked to describe a personified version of happiness, they felt less happy (“A new strategy”, 2019).

To further explore the results of this study, researchers tested the participant’s self-control in relation to their emotional state by seeing if they’d choose to purchase a salad or a cheesecake, or a budget laptop versus an entertainment laptop. It was shown that participants were much less indulgent when they personified their sadness; having that separation from the emotion gave them a better ability to resist temptations (“A new strategy”, 2019).

Reference: Society for Consumer Psychology. (2019, October 3). A new strategy to alleviate sadness: Bring the emotion to life: Researchers show how characters from the movie ‘Inside Out’ hold the key to regulating emotions and behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 6, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191003103515.htm

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