The Scope of Our Affective Influences: When and How Naturally Occurring Positive, Negative, and Neutral Affects Alter Judgment

Karen Gasper, Cinnamon L. Danube

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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To determine how naturally arising affect alters judgment, we examined whether (a) affective states exert a specific, rather than a general, influence on valenced-specific judgments; (b) neutral affect is associated with increased neutral judgments, independent of positive, negative, and ambivalent affects, and whether neutral judgments are associated with behavioral disengagement; and (c) the informational value of naturally arising states may be difficult to alter via salience and relevance manipulations. The results support several conclusions: (a) Affective states exerted a judgment-specific effect—positive affect was most strongly associated with positive judgments, negative affect with negative judgments, and neutral affect with neutral judgments. (b) Neutral affect influenced judgments, taking into account positive, negative, and ambivalent affects; and neutral judgments predicted behavioral disengagement. (c) With the exception of negative affect, naturally arising affective states typically influenced judgments regardless of their salience and relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-399
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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