Mood and Learning: How Feelings Influence Task Preparations

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

This program of research examines how people's feelings influence the way in which they prepare for an upcoming task. Specifically, it examines the hypothesis that mild feelings of negative affect may foster task preparations by promoting actions that result in people trying to be prepared, but may also hinder task preparations by resulting in people not feeling prepared. Through the process of investigating this hypothesis, this project also will integrate two lines of research (research on affect and information processing with research on affect and motivation) into a single framework. This framework could potentially elucidate how feelings alter preparations and more importantly help identify effective techniques that foster teaching, training, and learning. The experiments focus primarily on how to promote creativity and achievement, because these two domains play a central role in education, business, and the government. Using research on affect in information processing as a guide, this work examines the knowledge effect, which is the hypothesis that compared to happier moods, sad moods may promote a sense of uncertainty that results in individuals a) seeking out and b) adhering to information that c) appears relevant to the issue at hand (activities associated with being prepared). Thus, workers who feel upset about an upcoming task may seek out relevant information and follow it in order be prepared — practices that promote positive outcomes. However, acquiring information to be prepared does not mean that one feels prepared. When people prepare for a task, they also assess their skills and abilities. Using research on affect and self-regulation as a guide, this work examines the assessment effect, which is the hypothesis that compared to happier moods, sad moods may promote a sense of uncertainty that results in individuals being less able to a) assess the usefulness of information, b) accurately assess their skills, and c) persist when challenged (activities associated with feeling prepared). Thus, workers who feel upset may doubt their ability to assess their skills, to identify erroneous information, and to meet challenges — practices that hinder positive outcomes.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date6/1/045/31/06

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $120,000.00
  • National Science Foundation: $120,000.00

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