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Mood and health judgements : does the Affect Infusion Model hold?

Dobber, RCP 1998 , 'Mood and health judgements : does the Affect Infusion Model hold?', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis reports an investigation into the applicability of Forgas's (1992a, 1992c,
1994a, 1995b) Affect Infusion Model (AIM) to health judgments made by healthy
people. According to the AIM, the extent of mood influence on judgments depends on
the information processing strategy used and the length of processing time. Findings of
mood-congruence for some health judgments (Salovey & Birnbaum, 1989) suggested
that complex stimuli requiring elaborate processing could be expected to be particularly
influenced by mood and hence result in mood-congruent judgments (Forgas, 1994a).
A preliminary experiment established suitable audiovisual and autobiographical
methods of inducing happy, neutral and sad moods. A programme of seven experiments
was conducted which tested the AIM, and more particularly tested the hypothesis that
people in an induced sad mood would take longer to process information and make
more pessimistic judgments than people in an induced happy mood.
In three experiments, happy or sad (and in two of these experiments neutral) moods
were induced and health judgments made. The findings lacked consistency with the
AIM. Possible methodological issues were examined and ruled out as explanations for
lack of affect infusion.
A replication of Salovey and Birnbaum's (1989) Experiment 3 on health judgments was
run with the addition of the health items developed for the experiments reported in this
thesis. There was partial confirmation of Salovey and Birnbaum's findings of reduced
optimistic bias for people in a sad mood making judgments of negative health events. A
final experiment involved the breaking down of the items of this study into four subtypes
to establish under what circumstances affect infused judgments. Processing times
were assessed separately for negative and positive items, enabling testing of the
processing time aspect of the AIM, in relation to Salovey and Birnbaum's finding of mood effects with negative health judgments. Results again provided partial
confirmation of Salovey and Birnbaum's mood-congruence findings. However, even
when mood congruence was demonstrated, this was not associated with differences in
processing time as predicted by the AIM, either for Salovey and Birnbaum's items or
for those developed for this series of experiments.
The lack of finding of an association between processing time and mood congruence,
when it occurred, indicates difficulties for the AIM. The predictions of the model do not
apply in a straightforward way to health judgments made by healthy people. It is
suggested that an optimistic bias might sometimes result in motivated processing
reducing the likelihood of mood effects in health judgments. An examination of
Forgas's model in relation to the Interacting Cognitive Subsystems model (Barnard &
Teasdale, 1991) is proposed as an area for further research.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Dobber, RCP
Keywords: Emotions, Mood (Psychology), Affect (Psychology)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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