- How instructors' emotional expressions shape students' learning performance: The roles of anger, happiness, and regulatory focus
- Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
- Volume | Issue number
- 143 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
How do instructors' emotional expressions influence students' learning performance? Scholars and practitioners alike have emphasized the importance of positive, nurturing emotions for successful learning. However, teachers may sometimes lose their temper and express anger at their pupils. Drawing on emotions as social information (EASI) theory, we hypothesized that expressions of anger can benefit learning performance. In Experiment 1, participants who were confronted with an angry instructor exhibited more accurate recognition of word pairs after a week of learning, compared with those who were confronted with a happy instructor. In Experiment 2, we conceptually replicated this effect on a recall task, but only among participants in a promotion rather than prevention focus. Present findings thus show, for the 1st time, that instructor anger can enhance students' performance. Findings are consistent with a conceptualization of emotion as social information and call into question the generally endorsed positivity paradigm.
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