Research was conducted on a national sample of Americans to examine if the events of September 11th generated feelings which affected their thoughts.
Results of the study were published in the latest issue of Political Psychology.
When participants of the study were asked to focus on anger, participants seemed to reflect on the role of the terrorists in the attack. However when the participants were asked to focus on the sad events of that day the participants considered the causes of the attack to a lesser extent.
When the participants were requested to write in detail about their causes for anger and sadness in the events surrounding September 11th, it was found that both emotions elicited appropriate responses of approximately the same length. The results also revealed that casual judgments are more frequently evoked by anger than by sadness.
Focusing on anger led to a desire for action against the terrorists whereas a focus on sadness led to a desire for actions that would benefit the victim such as healing and other such non-hostile approaches.