Score another one for the cynics.
In a study that compared subjects in a positive mood to subjects in a negative mood, the sad people scored better in areas such as critical thinking, awareness, judgment, persuasive argument, and memory.
It turns out that thinking positively makes you more gullible. No shock there, but what is interesting about this study is that people in a bad mood are “less likely to make snap decisions based on racial or religious prejudices.”
Rather than negativity being the cause of intelligence, I would hold that intelligence tends to breed negativity. It’s not like frowning and being negative in and of itself should make someone any smarter, or more tolerant...
However, this study was not done based on the normal mood of the subject. The moods being tested were induced through movie viewing and memory recall. The people who were induced to be sad simply scored better.
I have long felt that good perception skills tend to lead towards negative thoughts, but perhaps it works both ways. However, if you’re always positive or always negative, chances are pretty damn good that you aren’t really paying attention.