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.