WEEK 9: COGNITION-EMOTION INTERACTIONS
LEARNING GOAL #1: You should be able to describe the theoretical difference
between hedonic and instrumental motives for regulating positive/negative emotions.
HEDONIC: individuals may be motivated to increase pleasant emotions
INSTRUMENTAL: individuals may be motivated to increase unpleasant emotions
LEARNING GOAL #2: What two questions do the authors set out to address in this
study? What hypotheses did they start with?
1) Might individuals be motivated to increase their anger when they are anticipating
confrontational vs. nonconfrontational tasks?
2) Does anger carry instrumental implications for performance in confrontational vs.
HYPOTHESIS: we believed that such a preference would be drive by instrumental considerations
and anger will improve performance in a confrontational, but not a nonconfrontational task
LEARNING GOAL #3: You should be able to describe the basic study design, and how
it tested the questions/hypotheses generated by an instrumental theory of emotion
Participants were told that before playing a computer game, they would engage in another activity.
They were then given descriptions of games that differed in their confrontational nature. After
reading each description, participants were given examples of activities they could perform before
playing the game and rated the extent to which they would prefer to engage in each activity. To
ensure that emotional preferences were motivated by the emotional tone of the activity rather than
the activity itself, we asked all participants to rate their preferences for two distinct types of
activities—namely, listening to music and recalling past events. We expected participants to have
stronger preferences for all anger-inducing activities (relative to excitement-inducing activities) when
they were considering confrontational, but not nonconfrontational, games.
HOW IT TESTED THE INSTRUMENTAL THEORY OF EMOTION REGULATION: (NO IDEA)
LEARNING GOAL #4: You should be able to describe the basic results observed. How
did these results inform the two questions/hypotheses Tamir et al. began with?
Preferences for anger inducing activities were higher than preferences for exciting and neutral
activities when participants anticipated playing a confrontation game
Preferences for emotion inducing activities depend on the emotional tone rather than the type of
- Thus, before completing a task in which anger could be useful, individuals sought to increase
their anger by engaging in anger inducing activities rather than pleasant or neutral ones.
These preferences were reversed when individuals expected to perform a task in which
anger was unlikely to be useful. Participants chose to increase their anger before playing a confrontational game and doing so
improved their performance
- The benefit to performance was anger specific as indexed by increased aggression
IN RELATION TO THE HYPOTHESIS:
Individuals want to experience emotions not only for their short term hedonic benefits but also for
their instrumental benefits
- Individuals are motivated to engage in activities likely to increase their anger despite the fact
that such activities are less pleasant than alternative ones
Emotional preferences are associated with instrumental benefits in confrontational contexts
- Individuals can be motivated to experience even unpleasant emotions in the short term, if
such emotions offer instrumental benefits
Findings are consistent with a functional approach to emotion regulation
- Emotional preference depends on the goals individuals pursue in each context
- Individuals can be motivated to increase unpleasant emotions, rather than decrease pleasant
emotions or maintain unpleasant emotions
o Preferences are linked to instrumental motives
- utility trump pleasure in motivating emotion regulation
experiencing negative emotions in specific contexts may be adaptive, if those emotions promote
Emotion regulation: refers to individuals attempts to influence their emotions
Hedonic motives: the motivation to increase pleasant emotions and decrease unpleasant
Instrumental motives: the motivation to regulate emotions and increase useful emotions but
decrease harmful emotions
In the introduction to their paper, the authors identify how previous research has examined
the influence of affective/emotional responses on judgments. You should be able to describe
their summary of previous research up to that point, as well as some of the basic results of
Research suggests that the influence of negative emotions on judgements is differentiated:
- studies of hopelessness depression:
o found that responses to negative events create a depression that manifests in a
selective interpretation of events
- studies of role attribution in creating emotion: o speculation of an attribution-emotion-attribution sequence where emotions bring
certain attribution influence subsequent attributions
o negative moods guide cognitive processing by narrowing people’s attention and
prompting analytic search for causes
- main point: an emotions cognitive effects can be predicted on the basis of an analysis of the
meaning structure that underlies that emotion
What influence did that research suggest that emotions had on judgments/cognition?
research on mood and judgment tradition:
- studies on effects of mood:
o negative mood induced by reading newspaper accounts of the death of a young man
made people perceive other unrelated negative events as more likely
- studies on the effects of mood on judgment
o general emotion antecedents and cognitive consequences
o moods that influence judgment is optimism or pessimism
- those who take a componential approach treat each emotion as an outcome of a set of
interpretive appraisals of the current situation
**research in this area tried to extend both by asking whether specific negative emotions influence
social judgments in ways that go beyond the pessimistic bias and towards those that correspond to
their underlying dimension of appraisal
What appraisal dimension to Keltner and colleagues describe as particularly important to
determining whether an event will elicit different negative emotions like anger, sadness, or guilt?
once a person feels bad, degrees of "badness" are of little use in predicting whether the emotion will
be sadness, anger, fear, guilt, or some other negative emotion. Instead, perceptions of agency
assume central importance. When people perceive some other person to be the cause of their
misfortune, they feel angry; when people perceive impersonal circumstances beyond human control
to be the cause of their misfortune they feel sad; and when they perceive themselves to be the
cause of their misfortune they feel guilty.
Given that the researchers believe that different emotions are elicited by different appraisals, they go
on to hypothesize that those emotions might causally influence judgments. What are their key
hypotheses related to this idea? How should anger and sadness differ in their effects on judgment?
People feeling a certain emotion should perceive events with causes matching those of emotion as
more likely than events with different causes
when faced with a new situation that allows for several possible interpretations, angry people should
focus on the actions and intentions of other people and sad people on impersonal, situational forces
You should be able to describe the research the authors did to test these key hypotheses.
- SUBGOAL #1: You should be able to describe basic design of Study 1. What did the
authors do to elicit different emotions, and what did they do to test the effects of those
emotions on judgments. o MANIPULTATION OF EMOTIONS: induced subjects to experience either sadness or
anger by imagining themselves in sad or angry situations.
o TESTING THE EFFECTS: They then asked them to estimate the likelihood of 10
future events, some were negative and some positive and some caused by other
people and some by impersonal forces
- SUBGOAL #2: You should be able to describe the results the authors found in Study
1. Under what circumstances did the authors find that emotion type had an effect on
judgments of the probability of different situations? What limitations on this effect
o RESULTS: sadness and anger have different effects on subsequent and causal
▪ Sad subjects perceived situationally caused negative events as more likely
than angry subjects
▪ Sad and angry subjects did not reach di