Problem-solving when we’re in a good mood tends to be quick, flexible, creative, and intuitive. Problem-solving when we’re in a bad mood tends to be information-based, detail-oriented, systematic, and cautious. Then there’s problem-solving when we’re on the rebound from feeling bad to feeling good – shifting from the negative to the positive: that’s when we’re especially creative and original in our approach and solutions. Each mode of problem-solving has its advantages and disadvantages; each works better in some situations than in others. We need emotional breadth and dexterity to be effective problem-solvers.


Bledow, R., Rosing, K., & Frese, M. (2012). A dynamic perspective on affect and creativity. Academy of Management Journal. Advance online publication. DOI:10.5465/amj.2010.0894

Spering, M., Wagener, D., & Funke, J. (2005). The role of emotions in complex problem-solving. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 1252_1261.