Moodiness is commonly equated with low self-esteem, incompatibility with other people, and lack of judgment. New research conducted by Eran Eldar of University College London and colleagues from Max Planck University in London and Princeton University are the first to show that moodiness has a much more positive aspect than previously thought.
The researchers found that mood was intimately incorporated with the learning process. A person not only learns from experiencing good and bad outcomes but people also learn from the mood they experience from a particular outcome. The entire learning experience and the mood that colors that experience are tied to a reward associated with any particular activity and the outcome of the activity.
The mood learned from a single experience can color and influence subsequent actions and feelings. Positive moods that are reinforced by rewards promote further success. A negative mood developed as the result of a single bad experience can produce the self-fulfilling prophecy of repetitive poor performance and bad mood.
The concepts were developed by examination of brain activity and mood using functional magnetic resonance imaging and a computational analysis of all previous work that correlated mood, learning, and behavior. The study is the first to show that mood is learned along with experience. Women have been accused of being more moody than men. If the accusation is true, then women have a learning advantage over men.