Positive Mood + Action = Negative Mood + Inaction: Effects of General Action and Inaction Concepts on Decisions and Performance as a Function of Affect

Dolores Albarracin, William Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

General action and inaction concepts have been shown to produce broad, goal-mediated effects on cognitive and motor activity irrespective of the type of activity. The current research tested a model in which action and inaction goals interact with the valence of incidental moods to guide behavior. Over four experiments, participants' moods were manipulated to be positive (happy), neutral, or negative (angry or sad), and then general action, inaction, and neutral concepts were primed. In Experiment 1, action primes increased intellectual performance when participants experienced a positive (happy) or neutral mood, whereas inaction primes increased performance when participants experienced a negative (angry) mood. Including a control-prime condition, Experiments 2 and 3 replicated these results measuring the number of general interest articles participants were willing to read and participants' memory for pictures of celebrities. Experiment 4 replicated the results comparing happiness with sadness and suggested that the effect of the prime's adoption was automatic. Overall, the findings supported an interactive model by which action concepts and positive affect produce the same increases in active behavior as inaction concepts and negative affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-957
Number of pages7
JournalEmotion
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

Keywords

  • Goals
  • Mood
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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