Theories of Mood and Cognition: A Users Handbook

Theories of Mood and Cognition: A Users Handbook

Theories of Mood and Cognition: A Users Handbook

Theories of Mood and Cognition: A Users Handbook

Synopsis

Approaching the topic from a social psychological viewpoint, this book provides a forum for some currently active theorists to provide concise descriptions of their models in a way that addresses four of the most central issues in the field: How does affect influence memory, judgment, information processing, and creativity? Each presentation includes a concise description of the theory's underlying assumptions, an application of these assumptions to the four central issues, and some answers to questions posed by the other theorists. Thus, in one volume, the reader is presented with a single authoritative source for current theories of affect and information processing and is given a chance to "listen in" on a conversation among the theorists in the form of questions and answers related to each theory. Students and researchers alike will benefit from the clarity and brevity of this volume.

Excerpt

In 1957, Leon Festinger published his now-famous theory of cognitive dissonance. According to the theory, when individuals hold two inconsistent cognitions, they experience an unpleasant affective state that, in turn, motivates them to restore cognitive consistency (e.g., to change one of the cognitions). This theory and its associated experimental paradigms are now well established. In the early days of the theory, however, researchers had a problem. It was difficult for them to know on an a priori basis whether any given manipulation would produce cognitive dissonance. One recommendation apparently followed by many of the early researchers was to "ask Leon. " That is, when these early researchers were unsure what cognitive dissonance theory would predict, they simply called up Leon Festinger and asked him. The more general point is that if you want to get a good idea of what a theory would predict in any given situation, you cannot do any better than going directly to the theorist.

That is the spirit behind this volume. But instead of "ask Leon, " we are, in essence, giving readers a chance to "ask Duane, Herbert, Jerry, Joe, Klaus, Lenny, Norbert, and Rich. " More specifically, this volume offers readers a chance to see how eight investigators address some central questions regarding the effects of affective states on cognition. We invited as contributors researchers who were active in the field and who were associated with sell-specified explanations of mood effects. The goal was to have these investigators lay out their positions as clearly and concisely as possible and then show how they would use their accounts to explain a range of phenomena. The phenomena in this case were four findings that seemed to show up most consistently in affect-cognition research: mood-congruent recall, mood-congruent judgment, negative affect leading to more systematic processing, and positive affect leading to more creative processing.

After the contributors had described their basic theoretical assumptions and had indicated how they used these assumptions to address the four major phenomena, these initial parts of each chapter were circulated among the other contributors for comments. The editors then distilled the comments into three questions for each contributor, and the contributors addressed their respective questions in the final parts of their chapters. In this way, each chapter presents us with a theory, an application of that theory to the four major phenomena in the affect-cognition area, and some answers regarding the basic theory, the applications of that theory, or both.

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