The happy spotlight: Positive mood and selective attention to rewarding information

Maya Tamir*, Michael D. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1124-1136
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Mood
  • Positive affect


Dive into the research topics of 'The happy spotlight: Positive mood and selective attention to rewarding information'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this