Venting your anger may be making you angrier

In the fun book You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself, the author shares some of the work of psychologist Brad Bushman from Iowa State University. Bushman explored how venting your anger and revenge help us deal with our anger. He discovered that the idea of "venting" is not helping anyone do anything except become angrier. Here is the study from the book.

One group read a fake article about how helpful "venting" is, one group read a fake article about how pointless "venting" was and the third group read a neutral article. 

 It is no doubt that Samantha Bee is comic genius, however in light of Bushman's work it makes me consider the role of cathartic comedy in culture. 

It is no doubt that Samantha Bee is comic genius, however in light of Bushman's work it makes me consider the role of cathartic comedy in culture. 

After reading, participants were asked to write an essay for/against abortion. Participants were told their essays were then assessed by other students when in fact they were not. Participants got their essays back and 1/2 of the participants were told their essay was great and the other 1/2 were told their paper was "on of the worst essays I have ever read." 

Those who got a negative response to their essay were then broken into two groups. Half of the group was asked to punch a bag, the other half were told to sit and wait for two minutes. Then they each played a game to see who could press a button first. The loser of the game would get a sound in their ears and the winner would be able to set the volume of the sound (between 0 and 10; 10 being 105 decibels, about the volume of a motorcycle). Participants were told they were playing this game against the person who graded their paper so negatively. 

On average those who punched the bag before the game set the volume at 8.5, while the sit still for two minute group set it at 2.47! The author points out, "The people who got angry did not release their anger on the punching bag - their anger was sustained by it. The group that cooled off lost their desire for vengeance."

If you believe that punching the system in the nose will teach the system a lesson or throwing punches is cathartic, chances are you will just be angrier. There is a place for anger to be sure, but it perhaps is best to feel the full force of that anger by sitting with it for a moment - so that the anger passes with the silence.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/arts/tel...