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Agustus 10, 2016

teruskanlah: e-mail is e-jail… (anger is healthy)

Filed under: Medicine — bumi2009fans @ 1:02 am




tabel SSP n tekanan darahB

On stage he’s a loveable, floppy-haired prince charming. Off camera – well let’s just say he needs a lot of personal space. He hates being a celebrity. He resents being an actor. To his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley’s friends he was apparently known as ‘Grumpelstiltskin’.

Hugh Grant may be famed for being moody and a little challenging to work with. But could a grumpy attitude be the secret to his success?

The pressure to be positive has never been greater. Cultural forces have whipped up a frenzied pursuit of happiness, spawning billion-dollar book sales, a cottage industry in self-help and plastering inspirational quotes all over the internet.

Now you can hire a happiness expert, undertake training in ‘mindfulness’, or seek inner satisfaction via an app. The US army currently trains its soldiers – over a million people – in positive psychology and optimism is taught in UK schools. Meanwhile the ‘happiness index’ has become an indicator of national wellbeing to rival GDP.

The truth is, pondering the worst has some clear advantages. Cranks may be superior negotiators, more discerningdecision-makers and cut their risk of having a heart attack. Cynics can expect more stable marriages, higher earningsand longer lives – though, of course, they’ll anticipate the opposite.

Good moods on the other hand come with substantial risks – sapping your drive, dimming attention to detail and making you simultaneously gullible and selfish. Positivity is also known toencourage binge drinking, overeating and unsafe sex.

At the centre of it all is the notion our feelings are adaptive: anger, sadness and pessimism aren’t divine cruelty or sheer random bad luck – they evolved to serve useful functions and help us thrive.

Take anger. From Newton’s obsessive grudges to Beethoven’s tantrums – which sometimes came to blows – it seems as though visionary geniuses often come with extremely short tempers. There are plenty of examples to be found in Silicon Valley. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is famed for his angryoutbursts and insults (such as “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”) yet they haven’t stopped him building a $300 billion company.

For years, the link remained a mystery. Then in 2009 Matthijs Baas from the University of Amsterdam decided to investigate. He recruited a group of willing students and set to work making them angry in the name of science. Half the students were asked to recall something which had irritated them and write a short essay about it. “This made them a bit angrier, though they weren’t quite driven to full-blown fits of rage,” he says. The other half of the group were made to feel sad.

Next the two teams were pitched against each other in a game designed to test their creativity. They had 16 minutes to think of as many ways as possible to improve education at the psychology department. As Baas expected, the angry team produced more ideas – at least to begin with. Their contributions were also more original, repeated by less than 1% of the study’s participants.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a large repertoire of signature insults, such as “if I hear that idea again, I’m gonna have to kill myself” (Credit: Getty Images)

Anger really prepares the body to mobilise resources

understanding the stress responses

Crucially, angry volunteers were better at moments of haphazard innovation, or so-called “unstructured” thinking. Let’s say you’re challenged to think about possible uses for a brick. While a systematic thinker might suggest ten different kinds of building, it takes a less structured approach to invent a new use altogether, such as turning it into a weapon.

In essence, creativity is down to how easily your mind is diverted from one thought path and onto another. In a situation requiring fight or flight, it’s easy to see how turning into a literal “mad genius” could be life-saving.

“Anger really prepares the body to mobilise resources – it tells you that the situation you’re in is bad and gives you an energetic boost to get you out of it,” says Baas.

To understand how this works, first we need to get to grips with what’s going on in the brain. Like most emotions, anger begins in the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure responsible for detecting threats to our well-being. It’s extremely efficient – raising the alarm long before the peril enters your conscious awareness.

Then it’s up to chemical signals in the brain to get you riled up. As the brain is flooded with adrenaline it initiates a burst of impassioned, energetic fury which lasts for several minutes. Breathing and heart rate accelerate and blood pressure skyrockets. Blood rushes into the extremities, leading to the distinctive red face and throbbing forehead veins people get when they’re annoyed.

Though it’s thought to have evolved primarily to prepare the body for physical aggression, this physiological response is known to have other benefits, boosting motivation and giving people the gall to take mental risks.

All these physiological changes are extremely helpful – as long as you get a chance to vent your anger by wrestling a lion or screaming at co-workers. Sure, you might alienate a few people, but afterwards your blood pressure should go back to normal. Avoiding grumpiness has more serious consequences.

The notion that repressed feelings can be bad for your health is ancient. The Greek philosopher Aristotle was a firm believer in catharsis (he invented the modern meaning of the word); viewing tragic plays, he conjectured, allowed punters to experience anger, sadness and guilt in a controlled environment. By getting it all out in the open, they could purge themselves of these feelings all in one go.

His philosophy was later adopted by Sigmund Freud, who instead championed the cathartic benefits of the therapist’s couch.

Then in 2010 a team of scientists decided to take a look. They surveyed a group of 644 patients with coronary artery disease to determine their levels of anger, suppressed anger and tendency to experience distress, and followed them for between five and ten years to see what happened next.

Over the course of the study, 20% experienced a major cardiac event and 9% percent died. Initially it looked like both anger and suppressed anger increased the likelihood of having a heart attack. But after controlling for other factors, the researchers realised anger had no impact – while suppressing it increased the chances of having a heart attack by nearly three-fold.

It’s still not known exactly why this occurs, but other studies have shown that suppressing anger can lead to chronic high blood pressure.

And not all benefits are physical: anger can help with negotiating, too. A major flashpoint for aggression is the discovery that someone does not value your interests highly enough. It involves inflicting costs – the threat of physical violence – and withdrawing benefits – loyalty, friendship, or money – to help them see their mistake.

Support for this theory comes from the faces we pull when angry. Research suggests they aren’t arbitrary movements at all, but specifically aimed at increasing our physical strength in the eyes of our opponent. Get it right and aggression can help you advance your interests and increase your status – it’s just an ancient way of bargaining.

In fact, scientists are increasingly recognising that grumpiness may be beneficial to the full range of social skills – improving language skills, memory and making us more persuasive.

Now known for donating over $28bn to charity, Bill Gates was once famously easy to anger. In fact, anger and altruism may be closely linked (Credit: Getty Images)

“Negative moods indicate we’re in a new and challenging situation and call for a more attentive, detailed and observant thinking style,” says Joseph Forgas, who has been studying how emotions affect our behaviour for nearly four decades. In line with this, research has also found that feeling slightly down enhances our awareness of social cues. Intriguingly, it also encourages people to act in a more – not less – fair way towards others.

Harsh, but fair

emosi dan amygdala

Though happiness is often thought of as intrinsically virtuous, the emotion brings no such benefits. In one study, a group of volunteers was made to feel disgusted, sad, angry, fearful, happy, surprised or neutral and invited to play the “ultimatum game”.

In the game, the first player is given some money and asked how they’d like to divide it between themselves and another player. Then the second player gets to decide whether or not to accept. If they agree, the money is split how the first player proposed. If not, neither player gets any money.

Happier participants keep more of the prize for themselves, while those in a sad mood are significantly less selfish

The ultimatum game is often used as a test of our sense of fairness by showing whether you expect to get a 50-50 share or whether you are happy for each person to be in it for themselves. Interestingly, all negative emotions led to more rejections by the second player, which might suggest that these feelings enhance our sense of fairness and the need for everyone to be treated equally.

Reversing the set-up reveals this is not just a case of sour grapes, either. The “dictator game” has exactly the same rules except this time the second player has no say whatsoever – they simply receive whatever the first player decides not to keep. It turns out that happier participants keep more of the prize for themselves, while those in a sad mood are significantly less selfish.

“People who are feeling slightly down pay better attention to external social norms and expectations, and so they act in a fairer and just way towards others,” says Forgas.

In some situations, happiness carries far more serious risks. It’s associated with the cuddle hormone, oxytocin, which a handful of studies have shown reduces our ability to identify threats. In prehistoric times, happiness would have left our ancestors vulnerable to predators. In modern life, it prevents us paying due attention to dangers such as binge drinking, overeating and unsafe sex.

“Happiness functions like a shorthand signal that we’re safe and it’s not necessary to pay too much attention to the environment,” he says. Those in a continuous happy haze may miss important cues. Instead, they may be over-reliant on existing knowledge – leaving them prone to serious errors of judgement.

Those in a good mood were less able to think sceptically and were significantly more gullible

In one study, Forgas and colleagues from the University of New South Wales, Australia, put volunteers in either a happy or sad mood by screening films in the laboratory. Then he asked them to judge the truth of urban myths, such as that power lines cause leukaemia or the CIA murdered President Kennedy. Those in a good mood were less able to think sceptically and were significantly more gullible.

Next Forgas used a first-person shooter game to test if good moods might also lead people to rely on stereotyping. As he predicted, those in a good mood were more likely to aim at targets wearing turbans.

Of all the positive emotions, optimism about the future may have the most ironic effects. Like happiness, positive fantasies about the future can be profoundly de-motivating. “People feel accomplished, they relax, and they do not invest the necessary effort to actually realise these positive fantasies and daydreams,” says Gabriele Oettingen from New York University.

Graduates who fantasise about success at work end up earning less, for instance. Patients who daydream about getting better make a slower recovery. In numerous studies, Oettingen has shown that the more wishful your thinking, the less likely any of it is to come true. “People say ‘dream it and you will get it’ – but that’s problematic,” she says. Optimistic thoughts may also put the obese off losing weight and make smokers less likely to plan to quit.

Defensive pessimism

Perhaps most worryingly, Oettingen believes the risks may operate on a societal level, too. When she compared articles in the newspaper USA Today with economic performance a week or a month later, she found that the more optimistic the content, the more performance declined. Next she looked at presidential inaugural addresses – and found that more positive speeches predicted a lower employment rate and GDP in during their time in office.

Combine these unnerving findings with optimism bias – the tendency to believe you’re less at risk of things going wrong than other people – and you’re asking for trouble. Instead, you might want to consider throwing away your rose-tinted spectacles and adopting a glass half-empty outlook. “Defensive pessimism” involves employing Murphy’s Law, the cosmic inevitability that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. By anticipating the worst, you can be prepared when it actually happens.

It works like this. Let’s say you’re giving a talk at work. All you have to do is think of the worst possible outcomes – tripping up on your way to the stage, losing the memory stick which contains your slides, computer difficulties, awkward questions (truly accomplished pessimists will be able to think of many, many more) – and hold them in your mind. Next you need to think of some solutions.

Psychologist Julie Norem from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, is an expert pessimist. “I’m a little clumsy, especially when I’m anxious, so I make sure to wear low-heeled shoes. I get there early to scope out the stage and make sure that there aren’t cords or other things to trip over. I typically have several backups for my slides: I can give the talk without them if necessary, I email a copy to the organizers, carry a copy on a flash drive, and bring my own laptop to use…” she says. Only the paranoid survive, as they say.

So the next time someone tells you to “cheer up” – why not tell them how you’re improving your sense of fairness, reducing unemployment and saving the world economy? You’ll be having the last laugh – even if it is a world-weary, cynical snort.



proquest: When exposed to stress, individuals with hypertension demonstrate dramatic increases in blood pressure and heart rate compared to normotensive individuals. Many studies have indicated a dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathetic nervous system in both human and animal models of hypertension, yet, the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, has also been implicated. Although, the amygdala has many connections with brain regions regulating the autonomic nervous system, little information has been provided regarding its role in regulating the hyperreactivity of the cardiovascular response to stress in a hypertensive rat model. The following study was conducted to determine if the cardiovascular response to stress in the spontaneously hypertensive rate (SHR) is due to an alteration in the regulation of the autonomic nervous system by the amygdala.

Specific Aim1 was designed to determine if neural activity within the amygdala is increased in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR). Fos-like immunoreactivity (FLI) was increased in all subnuclei of the amygdala during air jet stress (AJS), but no difference occurred between strains. Yet, corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) positive neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA) were increased in the SHR compared to the normotensive control during AJS. Additionally, an increase in FLI was demonstrated in the locus coeruleus in the SHR during stress. Due to the connection between CRH neurons in the CEA and the locus coeruleus, it is possible the cardiovascular response to stress in the SHR is due to abnormal CRH secretion.

Specific Aim 2 sought to determine if antagonism of NPY 1 and 2 receptors (Y1 and Y2) in the CEA as well as γ-amminobutryic acid (GABA) A receptors would modulate the cardiovascular response to stress in a hypertensive model. The results of the study indicated antagonism of Y1 and GABA A receptors reduced the cardiovascular response to stress in the SHR, while in the Wistar both antagonists caused an increase in HR. The dramatic reduction of the HR in the SHR to a level similar to the Wistar suggests inhibition of GABA A receptors in the CEA may increase parasympathetic activity.

Specific Aim 3 focused on if the attenuation of the cardiovascular response to stress in the SHR by antagonism of the CEA was due to an increase in parasympathetic activity. Analysis of heart rate variability analysis was utilized to determine sympathovagal balance in the SHR. NPY Y1 receptor antagonism within the CEA did not affect parasympathetic acitivity. This lack of response may be due to the availability of other NPY receptors for activation. Nevertheless, GABA A antagonism did demonstrate a modest increase in parasympathetic activity during the initial period of stress as well as an increase in heart rate variability and total power. Additionally, the possible stress-induced increase in ventilatory rate in the SHR was reduced by GABA A receptor antagonism. Disinhibition of the CEA appears to affect autonomic regulation in the SHR leading to a normalization of the cardiovascular response to stress.


time.com: Got a big social network? Then you probably have a large amygdala, according to a new study that found a connection between the size of this brain region and the number of social relationships a person has. The complexity of those relationships — as measured by the number of people who occupied multiple roles in a social network such as being simultaneously a friend and a co-worker — was also linked with amygdala size.

The findings are in line with past animal studies that have shown that species with larger social groups have relatively larger amygdalas, when brain and body size are taken into account, compared with less social animals. “Our question was, could we see this variation within a single species?” says lead author Lisa Barrett, director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory at Northeastern University. (More on Time.com: Where Does Fear Come From? (Hint: It’s Not the Creepy Basement)

Understanding the relationship between the size of an individual’s amygdala and his or her social relationships could help lead to treatments for a variety of conditions that involve difficulties with social connections, such as depression or autism.

So what does the amygdala actually do? “[It’s] strongly connected with almost every other structure in brain. In the past, people assumed it was really important for fear. Then they discovered it was actually important for all emotions. And it’s also important for social interaction and face recognition,” Barrett says. “The amygdala’s job in general is to signal to the rest of brain when something that you’re faced with is uncertain. For example, if you don’t know who someone is, and you are trying to identify them, whether it is a friend or a foe, the amygdala is probably playing a role in helping you to perform all of those tasks.”

Barrett says it is commonly assumed that the size of a structure reflects its computational capacity, noting that if your larger amygdala easily allows you to identify people you’ve met before at a cocktail party, you will have a much easier time connecting and socializing. “You can imagine that might be one thing someone with big amygdala might be better at and that might lay the foundation for easier formation of social bonds,” she says. (More on Time.com: Why That Rich Guy is Being So Nice to You)

The research, which was published in Nature Neuroscience, found a moderate correlation between amygdala size and the number and complexity of social relationships in 58 healthy adults aged 19 to 83.

Interestingly, however, amygdala size was not related to the quality of those relationships or to whether or not people enjoyed socializing. “We looked at measures of ‘How much do you enjoy social interaction?’ and ‘Are you satisfied with your social support?’ and that was not related to amygdala volume,” says Barrett.

Prior research has shown that people with autistic spectrum disorders have smaller amygdalas, which could help explain their social problems. But these studies cannot determine cause or effect — whether having a small amygdala makes socializing difficult, or whether lack of social interaction shrinks the amygdala — or whether both factors interact and result in a smaller brain region. For example, it may be that the amygdala requires a certain amount of social experience in order to develop properly; not receiving that, it may remain small but capable of further growth given the right social exposure. (More on Time.com: Forget the Joneses: How Envy Drives Destructive Behavior)

“This study represents an important initial study in human neurosociology — the study of the neurobiology of human living groups. The findings, while preliminary, suggest that the structure and functional capacity of our brain is influenced by the nature, quality and quantity of relational connections we — and our extended relational community — have,” says Dr. Bruce Perry, senior fellow at the ChildTrauma Academy who was not associated with the research. (Full disclosure: Perry and I have co-authored two books.)

While this study did not look at the size of people’s online social networks, the researchers plan to include those measures in future research to determine their influence.

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guardian: If your social life is a blur of friends and family, you might want to thank an almond-shaped clump of nerves at the base of your brain.

Researchers have found that part of the brain called the amygdala, a word derived from the Greek for almond, is larger in more sociable people than in those who lead less gregarious lives.

The finding, which held for men and women of all ages, is the first to show a link between the size of a specific brain region and the number and complexity of a person’s relationships.

The amygdala is small in comparison with many other brain regions but is thought to play a central role in coordinating our ability to size people up, remember names and faces, and handle a range of social acquaintances.

Researchers at Massachusetts general hospital in Boston used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure the amygdalas of 58 people aged 19 to 83 and found the structure ranged in size from about 2.5 cubic millimetres to more than twice that.

As part of the study, each of the volunteers completed a questionnaire giving the number of people they met on a regular basis. They also commented on the complexity of each relationship. For example, one friend might also be a boss, meaning the person had to adapt their behaviour with the person depending on the nature of their encounter.

The team, led by psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, found that participants with larger amygdalas typically had more people in their social lives and maintained more complex relationships.

Those with the smallest amygdalas listed fewer than five to 15 people as regular contacts, while those with the largest amygdalas counted up to 50 acquaintances in their social lives. Older volunteers tended to have smaller amygdalas and fewer people in their social group.

Writing in the journal, Nature Neuroscience, Barrett’s team cautions that the finding is only a correlation, meaning they cannot say whether there is a causal link between the size of the amygdala and the richness of a person’s social life. However, previous studies with primates show that those that live in large social groups also have bigger amygdalas. “People who have large amygdalas may have the raw material needed to maintain larger and more complex social networks,” said Barrett . “That said, the brain is a use it or lose it organ. It may be that when people interact more their amygdalas get larger. That would be my guess.

“It’s not that someone with a larger amygdala can do things that someone with a smaller amygdala cannot do. People differ in how well they remember people’s names and faces and the situation in which they met them. Someone with a larger amygdala might simply be better at remembering those details,” Barrett added.

Previous studies have found that parts of the brain enlarge to cope with more demanding tasks. In 2000, a team of neuroscientists led by Eleanor Maguire at UCL showed that in London taxi drivers, part of the brain called the hippocampus grows to help them remember a mental map of the city.

Barrett’s MRI scans revealed no other brain structures that varied in size according to the extent and complexity of a person’s social life.

The work builds on previous research by Robin Dunbar, director of social and cultural anthropology at Oxford University, who found a theoretical limit to the number of meaningful relationships a person can maintain. The figure is rough but considered to be about 150.

Barrett did not look at whether amygdala size varied with the number of contacts a person had on social networking websites like Facebook or Twitter, in part because it is unclear whether these require the same cognitive effort to maintain as more traditional relationships.

Barrett’s group is now looking at other brain regions to see which others are involved in social behaviour, and how abnormalities or injuries to the brain can impair a person’s social life.

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APA: If you believe the Bible, the great philosophers and Chinese fortune cookies, anger rarely pays.

Yet the red-hot emotion has a positive side, say psychologists who study anger. In studies and in clinical work, they find anger can help clarify relationship problems, clinch business deals, fuel political agendas and give people a sense of control during uncertain times. More globally, they note, it can spur an entire culture to change for the better, as witnessed by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the earlier women’s suffrage movement.

“Imagine what the women’s suffrage movement would have been like if women had said, ‘Guys, it’s really so unfair, we’re nice people and we’re human beings too. Won’t you listen to us and give us the vote?” says social psychologist Carol Tavris, PhD, author of “Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion” (Simon & Schuster, 1989). “To paraphrase Malcolm X, there’s a time and a place for anger, where nothing else will do.”

While there is no one definition of constructive anger–experts say it varies according to situation and context–psychologists are examining how its use can aid intimate relationships, work interactions and political expressions, including the public’s response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The concept of constructive anger is also gaining empirical support from a recently validated measure developed by Mount Sinai Medical Center psychologist Karina Davidson, PhD, and colleagues. Described in the January 2000 issue of Health Psychology(Vol. 19, No. 1), the instrument explores factors like people’s propensity to calmly discuss their angry feelings and to work toward solutions. Indeed, use of the scale with male heart patients high in hostility suggests that constructive anger may have health benefits as well (see article on page 46).

Everyday anger

Anger gets a bad rap partly because it is often erroneously associated with violence, experts note. “In fact, anger seems to be followed by aggression only about 10 percent of the time, and lots of aggression occurs without any anger,” notes Howard Kassinove, PhD, co-author with R. Chip Tafrate, PhD, of “Anger Management: The Complete Treatment Guidebook for Practice” (Impact, 2002).

But a number of studies show that in the places where anger is usually played out–especially on the domestic front–it is often beneficial. “When you look at everyday episodes of anger as opposed to more dramatic ones, the results are usually positive,” says James Averill, PhD, a University of Massachusetts Amherst psychologist whose studies of everyday anger in the 1980s found that angry episodes helped strengthen relationships about half the time, according to a community sample.

Echoing those findings, a 2002 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (Vol. 58, No. 12) by Tafrate, Kassinove and Louis Dundin, found that 40 percent of a community sample of 93 people reported positive long-term effects of angry episodes, compared with 36 percent that reported neutral and 25 percent that reported negative long-term outcomes. Similarly, a 1997 study by Kassinove and colleagues in the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality (Vol. 12, No. 2) found that 55 percent of a comparative community sample of Russians and Americans said an angry episode produced a positive outcome. Almost a third of them noted the episode helped them see their own faults.

“People who are targets of anger in these studies will say things like, ‘I really understand the other person much better now–I guess I wasn’t listening before,'” comments Kassinove. “While assertive expression is always preferable to angry expression, anger may serve an important alerting function that leads to deeper understanding of the other person and the problem.”

A positive feedback loop

Several factors can make the difference between constructive and destructive anger, say psychologists who study and treat everyday anger. For one, constructive anger expression usually involves both people, not just the angry party. In the best-case scenario, the angry person expresses his or her anger to the target, and the target hears the person and reacts appropriately.

“If the anger is justified and the response is appropriate, usually the misunderstanding is corrected,” notes Averill. Relatedly, anger can be constructive when people frame it in terms of solving a mutual problem rather than as a chance to vent their feelings, says Tavris. “The question is not, ‘Should I express anger or should I suppress it?’ It is, ‘What can we do to solve the problem?'”

Likewise, it is helpful to understand that anger is contextual and social, Tavris adds. When anger fails to fill a constructive framework, however, it can morph into undesirable expressions of the emotion, anger experts say. Anger externalized can turn into violence and aggression; anger internalized can cause depression, health problems and communication difficulties, they note.

Power plays

Anger also plays a powerful and arguably positive role in the workplace and in politics, finds Larissa Tiedens, PhD, of Stanford University. These are arenas, she notes, where anger is often used for status, power, control and strategic purposes rather than for emotional expression.

In a paper in the January 2001 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 80, No. 1), Tiedens showed across four studies that people grant more status to politicians and to colleagues who express anger than to those who express sadness or guilt.

And a study in this month’s Psychological Science (Vol. 14, No. 2) by social psychologist Jennifer Lerner, PhD, Roxana Gonzalez, Deborah Small and Baruch Fischoff, PhD, of Carnegie Mellon University, finds that anger served an empowering function following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The first part of the study, conducted nine days after the attacks, gathered baseline data on a representative sample of 1,786 people concerning their feelings about the attacks and their levels of anxiety, stress and desire for vengeance.

The second part, conducted two months later, randomized 973 people from the original sample into a condition that primed fear, anger or sadness (the study reports only on the fear and anger conditions). People in the anger condition, for instance, elaborated on their feelings of anger following the attacks and viewed photos and listened to audio clips designed to provoke anger. For example, they watched Arabs celebrating the attacks. They then assessed the threat of future terrorist attacks in the United States.

Participants primed for anger gave more optimistic–and, as it turns out, realistic–risk assessments on 25 possible terrorist-related risks than those primed for fear. For example, participants primed for anger estimated a 19 percent personal chance of being hurt in a terrorist attack within the next year, compared with 23 percent of those primed for fear. Because virtually no Americans were hurt by terrorist attacks in the 12 months following Sept. 11, the angry participants’ estimates were more accurate, explains Lerner.

Anger is probably beneficial in this context because it increases people’s sense of control, comments Lerner, who also has looked at this aspect of the phenomenon. In a study reported in the July 2001 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 81, No. 1), she and Dacher Keltner, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley, found that angry people had a stronger sense of control and certainty than fearful people. That’s not to say these tendencies are always justified or helpful, she adds: Angry people also are less likely than others to think they’ll have a heart attack or get a divorce, when they’re actually more likely to experience these negative events.

Lerner believes such studies have implications for the current “war on terrorism.” They suggest that President Bush’s angry, tough-guy stance may affect public reaction by reducing uncertainty and increasing a sense of control, she says.

However, if the enemy continues to prove elusive, the tactic may prove maladaptive, Lerner speculates. “At the same time anger effectively provides a sense of certainty and prepares people for action,” she says, “it also simplifies their judgment processes and leaves them prone to bias.”

Tori DeAngelis is a freelance writer in Syracuse, N.Y.

rose KECIL


MAT Bloger mendadak datang dengan paras memerah seperti kerbau disunat. Matanya melotot. Mulutnya berbusa-busa. Tak henti-hentinya dia mengumpat dan memberondongkan sumpah serapah.
“Asem, semprul, sontoloyo. Rumah sakit macam apa itu? Bukannya menolong orang sakit, malah mengirimkan pasien ke penjara,” begitu Mat Bloger melontarkan makian.
Saya kaget. Kenapa Mat Bloger mendadak berang tanpa ada angin dan hujan. Sambil meletakkan koran yang sedang saya baca, saya pun menyapa dia. “Waduh, ada apa gerangan, Mat? Kenapa sampean tiba-tiba marah-marah begini? Kalah taruhan?”
“Bukan, Mas,” jawab Mat Bloger. “Saya marah karena ada ibu rumah tangga yang ditahan gara-gara menulis e-mail.”
“Kok bisa, Mat? Apa masalahnya?”
Mat Bloger lalu menuturkan kisah tentang Prita Mulyasari, yang sejak 13 Mei lalu dititipkan Kejaksaan di Lembaga Pemasyarakatan Wanita Tangerang. Ia menjadi tahanan dalam kasus pencemaran nama baik Rumah Sakit Internasional Omni, Alam Sutera, Serpong, Tangerang Selatan.
“Kenapa dia dianggap mencemarkan nama baik, Mat?”
Mat Bloger mengatakan kasus ini bermula dari surat elektronik Prita pada 7 Agustus 2008. Surat itu berisi keluhannya ketika ia dirawat di Omni. Surat yang semula hanya ditujukan ke sebuah mailing list (milis) tersebut ternyata beredar ke pelbagai milis dan forum di Internet, dan diketahui oleh manajemen Rumah Sakit Omni.
PT Sarana Mediatama Internasional, pengelola rumah sakit itu, rupanya menganggap nama baiknya tercemar oleh surat tersebut. Mereka lalu menggugat Prita, baik secara perdata maupun pidana. Pengadilan Negeri Tangerang memutuskan Prita kalah dalam gugatan perdata. Sedangkan sidang pidananya akan berlangsung pekan depan.
“Terus terang saya merasa prihatin dan bersimpati terhadap Prita, Mas,” kata Mat Bloger. “Saya merasa dia tak layak dihukum seberat itu, bahkan sampai masuk penjara. Ini jelas teror bagi kita, konsumen, yang sering kali diperlakukan tak layak dan tak adil, tapi ketika mengeluh, malah dituduh mencemarkan nama baik.”
“Setuju, Mat. Ini teror. Kita harus melawan. Tapi mungkin juga ada hikmahnya buat kita. Kasus yang dialami Prita bisa menimpa siapa saja, saya atau sampean, juga blogger lain yang kerap menulis keluhan terhadap sebuah produk atau layanan di blognya.
Supaya kita terhindar dari jeratan hukum atau setidaknya mengurangi akibat yang lebih fatal, sampean perlu tahu caranya. Kiat ini penting karena sebagai blogger, sampean tentu tak bisa menghindar dari tuntutan hukum atas segala aktivitas yang sampean publikasikan.
Pertama, sampean tak perlu mencari perhatian dengan membuat judul tulisan yang terlampau provokatif semata-mata demi sensasi dan lonjakan traffic. Cara seperti ini bisa-bisa malah menjadi bumerang untuk kita.
Fokuskan tulisan pada masalah yang sampean alami atau keluhkan, dan bukan terhadap orang/lembaganya. Kritiklah kinerja atau layanan mereka, bukan menjelekkan namanya.
Meski mengritik, sebaiknya sampean juga memberikan solusi. Sampaikan kritik dengan bahasa yang santun agar orang yang dikritik tak merasa terhina dan marah. Lalu jangan segan meminta maaf. Jika kritik atau keluhan sampean ternyata salah, sebaiknya segera meminta maaf.
Terakhir, kalau sampean hendak mengkritik, sebaiknya sampean juga harus siap menerima masukan atau keberatan pembaca. Dengan cara itu, kita mungkin akan terhindar dari komplikasi hukum yang tak perlu.” blog tempointeraktif


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