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Out of mind, out of heart: Attention affects duration of emotional experience


Freund, Alexandra M; Keil, Andreas (2013). Out of mind, out of heart: Attention affects duration of emotional experience. Cognition and Emotion, 27(3):549-557.

Abstract

It has been suggested that the extent to which a person maintains attention to pleasant versus unpleasant aspects of a given stimulus has an effect on the self-reported affective state. This assumption was empirically tested in two experiments. In Study 1, participants received the instruction either to focus on a positive emotion-eliciting event (winning a tournament chess game) or to focus their attention on an affectively neutral distraction task (describing drawings). Study 2 used negative performance feedback in a cognitive task to induce unpleasant affect and included three experimental groups (waiting condition, continuing with the same cognitive task, distraction by a different cognitive task). Results converged to show that distracting attention away from the emotion-eliciting event leads to a shorter duration of the emotional experience. These findings support the attention-focus hypothesis.

Abstract

It has been suggested that the extent to which a person maintains attention to pleasant versus unpleasant aspects of a given stimulus has an effect on the self-reported affective state. This assumption was empirically tested in two experiments. In Study 1, participants received the instruction either to focus on a positive emotion-eliciting event (winning a tournament chess game) or to focus their attention on an affectively neutral distraction task (describing drawings). Study 2 used negative performance feedback in a cognitive task to induce unpleasant affect and included three experimental groups (waiting condition, continuing with the same cognitive task, distraction by a different cognitive task). Results converged to show that distracting attention away from the emotion-eliciting event leads to a shorter duration of the emotional experience. These findings support the attention-focus hypothesis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:28 Jan 2014 12:42
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 18:57
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0269-9931
Additional Information:This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Cognition & Emotion on September 11, 2012. Copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02699931.2012.725574
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2012.725574

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