Do holiday parties -- with all their jollity and bonhomie -- make you feel like you're the only person in the world who's feeling blue?
Do you experience a sort of inverse schadenfreude when you get a Christmas card in the mail -- a sense others are really, really happy, and that their happiness makes you miserable ... or even worse off?
Take cheer! You may be miserable, but you are not alone -- at least according to a study out of Stanford University published Wednesday in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
In the study, researchers report that "people are systematically biased in their judgments of peers' inner lives, underestimating the prevalence of negative emotional experiences...people may think they are more alone in their emotional difficulties than they really are." They add that this occurs, in large part, because advertently or inadvertently, people keep their negative feelings hidden.
One reason for this, they wrote, is that people tend to be happier when they're in company. We don't see each other in our solitary moments, when we're more likely to be "sad, irritable, bored and lonely." What's more, people actively suppress what negative emotions they do have when they're around others. They tend not to talk about those feelings either because doing so is considered socially inappropriate, the team wrote.
The upshot? People don't see how widespread their own doldrums truly are, and the " 'emotional pluralistic ignorance' can reduce people's well-being," the researchers wrote.
The paper was based on the doctoral dissertation of psychologist Alexander H. Jordan, now a research fellow at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Jordan noticed that some of his friends became "upset after reading others' posts on Facebook," according to a Stanford press release.
"They felt disappointed with their lives when they logged onto Facebook and browsed the apparently 'perfect' lives presented by their peers," he said. "I wondered whether people might harbor a more general illusion that others' lives are cheerier than they actually are."
In addition to noting this Facebook effect, the paper also suggested that the tendency to underestimate other people's woes explains why humans seek out tragedy in entertainment.
While grousing or crying aren't appropriate at a party, they're welcome and encouraged in books, on movie screens or on celebrity gossip sites such as TMZ.com -- where, when this post was written, Lindsay Lohan's woes topped the "Most Read Stories" list.
2010-12-28 14:47 编辑：kuaileyingyu