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Angry People Are More Likely to Overestimate Intelligence, Study Finds

A study of 528 participants found that people who have a quick temper or score high on having a tendency to be angry, also tend to overestimate their intelligence and abilities. The illusory perception of themselves — which is associated with narcissistic illusions — was unrelated to their actual intelligence quotient, PsyPost reported. Researchers said that since this study looked only at dispositional tendencies, they hoped to study whether being temporarily angry also leads to biased perceptions of ability.

Negative emotions of any kind can blur perceptions of reality, whether it’s anger or pessimism or just feelings of depression or extreme grief. When it comes to anger, there actually is a biochemical cascade that occurs when you’re angry, called the fight-or-flight response. It’s a stress response that begins in your brain, eventually working itself into every cell of your body. As such, it can affect the way your body interprets these signals in such a way that you may even feel chest pains even though there’s nothing physically wrong with your heart.

And, yes, earlier studies have shown that all of this can affect your cognitive behavior, willpower, decision making and judgment. It’s also been shown that short-fueled people live shorter lives, as frequent anger is associated with a heightened risk of high blood pressure and heart problems, including heart attack and stroke. Even an intense bout of anger has its risks.

Fortunately, there are scientifically proven ways to strengthen your prefrontal cortex and improve your self-control in emotion-triggered situations. One tried-and-true proven method of conditioning yourself to learn to feel more at ease with life’s everyday happenings and to improve your mental and emotional outlook is to make it a point to be more mindful — focusing on what you're doing and the sensations you're experiencing in the moment.