PSC 152 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Rise Time, Arab Americans, Egocentrism

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Published on 15 Jun 2020
Affect & Social Cognition
Affect - some definitions
Affect - representations of personal value (i.e., the goodness or badness of
How we feel positively or negatively about something
Emotion - affective state with
Identifiable referent (i.e., what the emotion is “about”)
Sharp rise time & limited duration
Start and end quickly
High intensity
Mood - affective state with
No clear referent - diffuse & objectless
Not alwassy about someone or something
Gradual onset & extended duration
Last longer
Low intensity
How do researchers study affect ?
“Study 1” - induce temporary affective state:
Writing tasks (“thinking about a time when you felt happy, sad, anxious,
Listen to certain music that elicits a certain emotion
Video clips (ex: fear, disgust)
And many others
“Study 2” - outcome measure(s) of interest
Affect - congruent judgments
Consumer product judgments
Ex: unexpected (vs. no) gift → more satisfaction w/ own car & TV
Receiving a gift unexpectedly tends to boost a person’s mood
Those w/ unexpected gift reported higher motor and TV satisfaction
Self - judgments
Ex: happy (vs. sad) movie → less (more) self- blame for relationship
Those more positive gave themself less blame for relationship conflict
compared to those more negative
Judgments of other people
Ex: disgusting (vs. neutral) smell → more negative attitudes toward gay
men, but no other groups
Those w/ disgusting smell had more neg attitudes toward gay
men, but not lesbians or African Americans
Mechanism: affect as priming
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Affective states lead to retrieval of affect - congruent concepts & memories
Happy → activation of info associated w/ happiness
Feelign happy can lead us to think about info we associated w/
Ex: people, events, etc.
Sad → activation of info associated w/ sadness
Feeling sad can lead us to think about info we associated w/
Accessible affective info influences judgment
Mechanism: affect as information
Use affect as source of info
“How good is my life? How much do I like this product? Well, let’s see..
How do I feel right now?”
Potential source of error when current affect is irrelevant ot target of
Misattribute source of feelings to target
Ex: may attribute frustration of failing test toward a person
Schwarz & Clore (1983)
“How good do you feel about your life as a whole? “
Asked participants after writing about happy or sad experience
Study run in soundproof room: some participants told room makes people
“tense”; others told nothing about room
Allows for attribution of feelings to room
Priming model can’t explain this
Conclusion: people use feelings, unless cued not to do so
If feeling negative, attributed their neg feelings toward room, since they
were cued to, instead of attributing their neg feelings to their life as a
Affect as information
Information about our thought processes & strategies
Happiness: everything’s ok → heuristic processing
Sadness: current situation is problematic → systematic processing
Processing things systematically, people tend to be persuaded by strong
When processing heuristically, people tend to use simple cues
Ex: consider how attractive the speaker is
Don’t focus more on strong or weak arguments
Ex: persuasion
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