Positive mood states are thought to sensitize individuals to rewards in their environment, presumably in the service of approach-related decision making and behavior. From a selective attention standpoint, such mood-related effects should be associated with selective attention biases favoring rewarding stimuli. No prior results along these lines have been reported. Therefore, the authors conducted a systematic program of research designed to document such relations. Study 1 found that daily positive mood states were associated with attention to reward words in a spatial probe task. Studies 2-5 replicated this association in the context of mood manipulations. The latter studies also show that the effect generalizes across different mood manipulation procedures, is specific to positive mood states, and is particularly apparent in relation to rewarding (vs. non-rewarding) positive stimuli. The results extend our knowledge of mood-cognition relations and have important implications for understanding the social cognitive consequences of positive mood states.
- Positive affect