Why do we sometimes like getting sad together?

Posted on June 23, 2015

To investigate this phenomenon, Roni Porat and her team focused on Jewish-Israeli people's expectations around Israeli National Memorial Day. The day is used to commemorate Israeli soldiers who died in service as well as civilians killed by terrorism.

Based on surveys of Jewish-Israeli undergrads, the researchers found that people who were more motivated to belong (they agreed with statements like "It is important for me to feel a part of the Israeli society"), also tended to say they wanted to feel sad on Memorial Day, and they expected this sadness to make them feel closer to their country.

Porat's team followed this up by deliberately prompting the need to belong in Jewish-Israeli participants recruited online. The researchers did this by asking the participants to look at pairs of photos of faces and to indicate in each case which face belonged to a Jewish-Israeli and which to a Palestinian; this was followed by fixed feedback so that the participants thought they'd failed to identify members of their own ethnic group. Compared to control participants, those made to feel inadequate had raised hopes for feeling sad (but not other emotions) on Memorial Day.

It was a similar story for participants who were prompted to want to belong by having them read about the basic human need for feeling part of a larger social group. After reading such arguments, participants had raised wishes for feeling sad on Memorial Day.

The new results extend past research that's shown how people deliberately influence their own emotions for individual (rather than social) reasons – for example, fostering anger in themselves as an aid to aggression.

To read the full article, click on the link below.


Source material from Cognition

Mental Health News