Background: The objective of this research was to investigate how different emotional states (specifically, sadness, neutrality, and laughter) affect the cognitive abilities of both graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, the study aimed to determine whether laughter, employed as an intervention, could potentially improve the cognitive processing abilities of these groups of students.
Methods: Participants were assigned to conditions using a simple randomization process within a single-session, five-trial experimental setup, employing a double-blind approach, and utilizing a within-group design. The research incorporated three established psychological assessment tools to collect pertinent data concerning cognitive capabilities, mood states, and the induction of emotions across five separate trials. Additionally, three distinct mood states (sad, neutral, and laughter) were induced to investigate their influence on cognition. To derive the desired outcomes, the study employed a two-way factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Results: The findings from this study revealed a notable and positive impact of laughter on the cognitive processes and mood of both graduate and undergraduate students (F = 58.49, p =.000, η² =.38). Specifically, laughter had significant effects on cognition (F= 235.56, p=.000, η² =.71), executive functioning (F=67.62, p=.000, η² =.42), language (F=40.24, p=.000, η² =.30), visual-spatial abilities (F=43.91, p=.000, η² =.32), attention, concentration, and working memory (F=102.5, p=.000, η² =.523).Furthermore, the study observed that participants exhibited increased vulnerability in both cognitive processes and emotional states when exposed to sadness induction.
Conclusions: The study's findings provide empirical support for the assertion that a depressive mood exerts a detrimental influence on the cognitive capabilities of students. Moreover, the results underscore the substantial impact of positive emotions on cognition, highlighting laughter as a potentially non-disruptive and readily implementable strategy to improve both students' emotional states and cognitive functioning by mitigating stress and academic workload.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Hafiza Abida, Aqsa Chaman, Abdul Basit Qureshi