Evolutionary theories suggest that all affective states have a function. The fascinating review “Can Sadness Be Good for You? On the Cognitive, Motivational and Interpersonal Benefits of Mild Negative Affect” by Joseph Forgas is a welcome reminder that happiness is not the be all and end all—sadness can also be beneficial. In this commentary, I summarise the studies conducted by Forgas et al. that demonstrate the benefit of mild negative affect for memory, judgement, motivation, and interpersonal behaviour (and those that do not), link them to current theories and models, and discuss avenues for future research.
- adaptive behaviour