Article

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

ABSTRACT

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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    • "The aim of this study was to examine the influence of induced joy on fifth graders performance in a grammar task. According to the first hypothesis one might have expected induced joy would facilitate children's performance in solving grammar problems by increasing reliance on general knowledge structures (Bless et al., 1996). Our results confirmed this hypothesis. "
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    ABSTRACT: This research examined whether induced joy influences fifth graders' performance in literacy tasks. Children were asked to recall a joyful experience, used as a joy induction, before completing either a grammar (Study 1) or textual comprehension task (Study 2). The grammar task involved understanding at the surface level and retrieval of appropriate declarative and procedural knowledge, but limited elaboration unlike the textual comprehension task, which tackled inference generation. By differentiating tasks based on depth of processing required for completion we aimed at testing the validity of two concurrent hypotheses: that of a facilitating effect and that of a detrimental effect of induced joy. Compared to controls, joy induced children showed better performance on the grammar task - specifically children with lower language ability. No differences across groups emerged as a function of joy induction on the text comprehension task. Results are discussed with respect to emotion effects on cognition.
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    • "For example, research has shown that the promotion focus is associated with a greater reliance on heuristics (Friedman & Förster, 2001) whereas the prevention focus is associated with a greater reliance on analytical reasoning (Friedman & Förster, 2000). Research has also shown that states of eagerness have been found to encourage the reliance on internal rather than external inputs of information, whereas states of vigilance result in the opposite pattern (Bless, Mackie, & Schwarz, 1992, Bless, Schwarz, et al., 1996). Finally, research has shown that a strong promotion focus is related to a preference for speed over accuracy in task performance , whereas a strong prevention focus has been linked to the opposite trade-off (Förster, Higgins, & Bianco, 2003). "
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    • "In contrast, negative affect results in bottom-up, i.e., more systematic and elaborate processing. It was shown that negative valence encourages more thorough and critical thinking (Schwarz and Bless, 1991), activates an analytical processing strategy (Bless et al., 1996), and promotes a complete and correct use of structured decision protocols (Elsbach and Barr, 1999). It should be stressed, however, that high-arousal negative emotions inhibit information processing (Finucane, 2011), thus creating a boundary condition. "
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