Does being happy help you learn? Are there situations where being angry can help?

In two experimental studies of two-party information sharing, we demonstrate that affective state plays a role in the knowledge-transfer process. Study 1 (N = 108 MBA students) found that affective state has a larger impact on those in need of knowledge (“receivers”) than on those in possession of knowledge (“senders”), with elated/happy receivers more likely than angry/frustrated receivers to absorb and act on new information. Study 2 (N = 180 undergraduates) replicated this finding and also demonstrated that having receivers and senders in the same high-arousal affective state as each other (affective congruence) enhances knowledge transfer, regardless of whether the affective state is positive (elated/happy) or negative (angry/frustrated). These findings help fill an important gap in the literature regarding the influence of affect on knowledge transfer in groups.

Source: “The role of affect in knowledge transfer.” from Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, Vol 14(2), Jun 2010, 123-142.

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