Some Symbols Help Us See the Big Picture and Make Better Decisions, Researchers Say

Could it be that the only thing that stands between you and success on an important project is the absence of one of those ubiquitous happy faces? Don't laugh. Researchers at two universities say they've found evidence that something as simple as a smiling face, or a picture of puppies, can elevate your mood enough to see the Big Picture.

According to their study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, it doesn't take much to push us into the realm of abstract thinking instead of getting hung up on the small stuff. Thinking abstractly, in turn, can lead to better decisions as we focus on the things that really matter, rising above the trivia that could otherwise bury us.

A better mood makes us focus on why, not how, according to Aparna Labroo of the University of Chicago and Vanessa Patrick of the University of Georgia.

"We argue that by signaling that a situation is benign (think happy face,) a positive mood allows people to distance themselves psychologically from the situation," their study concludes. "Psychological distancing results in taking a broader perspective, or seeing the big picture," leading to "higher level thinking."

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Source : ABCNews


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