Mood and the Use of Scripts: Does a Happy Mood Really Lead to Mindlessness?

Psychologisches Institut, Universität Heidelberg, Germany.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 11/1996; 71(4):665-79. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.71.4.665
Source: PubMed


The authors tested whether happy moods increase, and sad moods decrease, reliance on general knowledge structures. Participants in happy, neutral, or sad moods listened to a "going-out-for-dinner" story. Happy participants made more intrusion errors in recognition than did sad participants, with neutral mood participants falling in between (Experiments 1 and 2). Happy participants outperformed sad ones when they performed a secondary task while listening to the story (Experiment 2), but only when the amount of script-inconsistent information was small (Experiment 3). This pattern of findings indicates higher reliance on general knowledge structures under happy rather than sad moods. It is incompatible with the assumption that happy moods decrease either cognitive capacity or processing motivation in general, which would predict impaired secondary-task performance.

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Available from: Norbert Schwarz, Apr 02, 2015
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    • "Importantly for serious game designers, both positive and negative valence have been strongly associated with positive and negative learning effects (Sabourin & Lester, 2014 ). For example, positive emotional states, such as engagement, joy, and happiness, lead to increased learning (Bless et al., 1996 ; Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989 ; Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry, 2002 ; Raghunathan & Trope, 2002 ). By contrast, negative experiences, such as frustration, anger, and boredom, lead to decreased effort, reduced motivation, and disengagement from learning activities (Meyer & Turner, 2006 ; Pekrun et al., 2002 ; Ramirez & Dockweiler, 1987 ; Sabourin, Rowe, Mott, & Lester, 2011 ). "
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    ABSTRACT: The startle eye-blink is part of a non-voluntary response that typically occurs when an individual encounters a sudden and unexpected stimulus, such as a loud noise or increase in light. Modulations of the startle reflex can be used to infer affective processing in players. The response can be elicited using simple auditory, visual, electric, or mechanical stimuli. The magnitude of the startle eye-blink is used to infer the unconscious positive (pleasant) or negative (unpleasant) emotional state of the player. It is frequently used in psychology where variations in the magnitude, latency, and duration of the startle response are used to understand attention, workload, affective processing, and psychopathologies such as schizophrenia. By comparison, there has been limited use of this objective measure for studying games. As such, there are opportunities to adapt this measure to studies of player affect in the context of game design. We provide a review of the concepts of “affect” and “affective computing” as they relate to game design and also explain in detail the use of the startle eye-blink for objectively measuring player affect. Finally, the use of the approach is illustrated in a case study for evaluating a serious game design.
    Serious Games Analytics, Edited by Christian Sebastian Loh, Yanyan Sheng, Dirk Ifenthaler, 06/2015: pages 401-434; Springer., ISBN: 978-3-319-05833-7
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    • "For instance, low compared to high-fluent stimuli are liked less, judged as being false, toxic, or less famous and funny (Leder, Bär, & Topolinski, 2013; Topolinski, 2014; Topolinski, Lindner, & Freudenberg, 2014; Topolinski & Reber, 2010a, 2010b; Topolinski & Strack, 2010). Such a phasic negative affect, independent from fluency, has been shown to function like negative mood in cognitive tuning, where negative compared to positive affective states inhibit automatic and heuristic processes and induce more systematic and effortful processing (e.g., Bless et al., 1996; Kuhl, 2000; Ruder & Bless, 2003; Baumann & Kuhl, 2002). For instance, phasic negative compared to positive affect, when induced randomly, changing from trial to trial and lasting only for around a second, decreases creative performance (Topolinski & Deutsch, 2012), or inhibits automatic semantic processing (Topolinski & Deutsch, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: The emotion of surprise entails a complex of immediate responses, such as cognitive interruption, attention allocation to, and more systematic processing of the surprising stimulus. All these processes serve the ultimate function to increase processing depth and thus cognitively master the surprising stimulus. The present account introduces phasic negative affect as the underlying mechanism responsible for this switch in operating mode. Surprising stimuli are schema-discrepant and thus entail cognitive disfluency, which elicits immediate negative affect. This affect in turn works like a phasic cognitive tuning switching the current processing mode from more automatic and heuristic to more systematic and reflective processing. Directly testing the initial elicitation of negative affect by surprising events, the present experiment presented high and low surprising neutral trivia statements to N = 28 participants while assessing their spontaneous facial expressions via facial electromyography. High compared to low surprising trivia elicited higher corrugator activity, indicative of negative affect and mental effort, while leaving zygomaticus (positive affect) and frontalis (cultural surprise expression) activity unaffected. Future research shall investigate the mediating role of negative affect in eliciting surprise-related outcomes.
    Frontiers in Psychology 02/2015; 6:134. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00134 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite these assumptions about a link between positive affect and heuristic and gist-based processing, there are three classes of challenges to the contention that positive affect promotes memory errors in learning prototypical or semantically related concepts. First, the assumption that positive affect induces reliance on general knowledge is at odds with evidence that positive affect enhances originality and innovative thinking (Isen, 2000). 1 The originality and innovation observed in people in positive mood is likely achieved by less reliance on well-learned, typical ways of thinking, as opposed to the greater reliance posited by Bless et al. (1996). This is because schema-based knowledge tends to routinize thinking and impedes access to unusual cognitive material (Rowe, Hirsh, & Anderson, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence that positive affect enhances associative processing has lent weight to the idea that positive affect increases false memory for information that is thematically interrelated. Using the Deese–Roediger–McDermott paradigm, we examined whether mild positive affect facilitates monitoring processes in modulating false memory for associate words. When participants in the warned condition – in contrast to those in the unwarned condition – were overtly warned about possible false recognition of the critical lure, we found that positive affect, compared to neutral affect, significantly enhanced monitoring through a warning and reduced false recognition. Signal detection analyses suggest that when a warning is provided, positive affect enhances sensitivity to discriminate list items from critical lures, but it does not shift the overall decision criterion. Taken together, we conclude that positive affect facilitates the effect of a warning in reducing false memories for semantic associates.
    The Journal of Positive Psychology 12/2014; 10(3):1-11. DOI:10.1080/17439760.2014.950177 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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