When people are made to think quickly, they report feeling happier as a result. They also say they are more energetic, more creative, more powerful, and more self-assured. In short, they reported a whole set of experiences associated with being “manic.”
Fast thinking, or “racing thoughts,” is most commonly known as a symptom of the clinical psychiatric disorder of mania (and of the manic part of bipolar disorder or “manic-depression”).
But, according to Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin, most healthy people also have experienced racing thoughts at some point in time–perhaps when they are excited about a new idea they have just learned, or when they are brainstorming with a group of people, or even when they lie in bed unable to fall asleep.
Pronin and her Harvard colleague Daniel Wegner decided to explore whether inducing people to think fast might lead them to feel some of the other experiences also associated with the manic experience.