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Anger has benefits for attaining goals.

Functional accounts of emotion have guided research for decades, with the core assumption that emotions are functional-they improve outcomes for people. Based on functional accounts of emotion, we theorized that anger should improve goal attainment in the presence of challenges. In seven studies, goal attainment was assessed in situations that involved varying levels of challenges to goal attainment. Across studies, anger compared to a neutral condition resulted in behavior that facilitated greater goal attainment on tasks that involved challenges. With a goal to solve difficult puzzles, anger resulted in more puzzles correctly solved (Study 1). With a goal to attain prizes, anger increased cheating rates and numbers of unearned prizes (Study 2). With a goal to do well in a video game, anger increased scores on a game with challenges to be avoided, but not other scores (Study 3). In two studies, examining the consequences of anger in response to the challenging task that was the focus of that anger, anger decreased reaction time with goals to win trials (Study 4), and predicted making the effort to vote in two contentious elections (Study 5). With a goal to protect financial resources, anger increased action taken to prevent loss compared to a physiological arousal condition (Study 6). (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

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