Beyond valence in the perception of likelihood: The role of emotion specificity

David DeSteno*, Richard E. Petty, Duane T. Wegener, Derek D. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

253 Scopus citations

Abstract

Positive and negative moods have been shown to increase likelihood estimates of future events matching these states in valence (e.g., E. J. Johnson & A. Tversky, 1983). In the present article, 4 studies provide evidence that this congruency bias (a) is not limited to valence but functions m an emotion-specific manner, (b) derives from the informational value of emotions, and (c) is not the inevitable outcome of likelihood assessment under heightened emotion. Specifically, Study 1 demonstrates that sadness and anger, 2 distinct, negative emotions, differentially bias likelihood estimates of sad and angering events. Studies 2 and 3 replicate this finding in addition to supporting an emotion-as-information (cf. N. Schwarz & G. L. Clore, 1983), as opposed to a memory-based, mediating process for the bias. Finally, Study 4 shows that when the source of the emotion is salient, a reversal of the bias can occur given greater cognitive effort aimed at accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-416
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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