Anxious people make some decisions more quickly, but not the ones you'd expect.
It turns out that anxious people are better shooters - not in snooker, but with a gun. Specifically, they can quickly distinguish between friend and foe .
Study author Tsachi Ein-Dor argues that his research shows anxiety does come with some benefits. He said I had indications from previous research that attachment anxiety is linked with better ability to detect various threats.
People high in attachment anxiety are usually stressed and over-reacting, however.
What I wanted to examine is their performance in shooting decisions - would they be better at making accurate shooting decisions?
The research used a game to recreate shooting situations.
In the game, targets ran into view, some carrying weapons, and some carrying harmless objects.
Ein-Dor found that those with high attachment anxiety were more accurate at detecting threats and shooting the target correctly.
Ein-Dor continued: The average person should take away from our study that personality should be appraised in the correct context.
Being anxious is often appraised as maladaptive. We have shown that contrary to the common thought, calmness is maladaptive in the context of shooting decisions, whereas anxiety is adaptive.
He added a heartwarming message: People should not appraise their personality as good or bad. Each personality disposition has its advantages (and disadvantages). Hence, people need to search for the context in which their personality would succeed.