It’s not written in the stars and not necessarily something you’re born with: A new scientific paper, interpreted by Scientific American, indicates that people’s moods can strongly influence their moral judgements and decision making.
What does this mean? Well, it might offer an explanation for Justin Bieber’s erratic behavior of late. He’s been canceling concerts, causing a ruckus in a London nightclub, over Tweeting his feelings and generally getting his bad boy behavior on — very unlike the young, sweet Bieber of the “Baby” days. In part this is the kind of behavior we should expect from a 19-year-old kid. While his peers get to hide their misdeeds in anonymous lives at college, Bieber is living out his transition into adulthood in the spotlight. Between his very public break up with longtime girlfriend Selena Gomez and constant surveillance by the paparazzi, Bieber can’t seem to catch a break.
Jada Pinkett Smith took to her Facebook page, posting a split photo of Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and young Oscar nominee Quvanzhané Wallis along with a note questioning the media’s cyber-bullying of these young stars.
“Is it okay to continually attack and criticize a famous 19-year-old who is simply trying to build a life, exercise his talents while figuring out what manhood and fame is all about as he carries the weight of supporting his family as well as providing the paychecks to others who depend on him to work so they can feed their families as well? …Are these young people not allowed to be young, make mistakes, grow, and eventually transform a million times before our eyes?”
There are a myriad of reasons Bieber and Rihanna might be in a worse mood than is normal. Such as…
• Constant negative media scrutiny.
In the past week, TMZ alone have run 14 stories on Bieber — including offering him up as The Biggest Bonehead of the Week, saying “the tide is turning” as fans allegedly boo him at a concert and making much ado about nothing when he dropped an f-bomb on a paparazzi (when Tina Fey did the same thing this week, the world agreed the pap had it coming). Multiply that X infinity with every two-bit gossip blog on the Internet. How is he supposed to feel good about anything, in the middle of what we can all agree is a very bad week?
• Consistent negative feedback on social media.
We all know Rihanna reads her social media, especially Twitter and Instagram messages, because she can’t stop responding to them. From the infamous slap down on MTV to that brief and strange catfight with Piers Morgan to her random fights with haters, Rihanna never met a fight she didn’t want to get into. But all the smack talkers can get to a person after awhile. It’s not a matter of simply not responding — perhaps Rihanna would be happier if she didn’t engage at all. You can’t get annoyed by what you don’t know exists.
If, as this scientific paper says, your mood can have an affect on your decision making, then maybe being unhappy is leading Bieber and Rihanna to make bad decisions that their unhappiness has fooled them into thinking are good decisions — like canceling shows and picking fights.
Could the power of positive thinking turn the erratic behavior of these stars around? Not to say there isn’t room for constructive criticism with relation to all these people, but perhaps we are seeing the first tangible effects of the negative feedback loop constructed by constant surveillance, a 24-hour gossip news cycle and unmitigated access via social media.