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Happy Distraction: Positive Affect Broadens Attention to Irrelevant Information

The present study investigated the claim that positive mood broadens the scope of attention to include irrelevant information, and if so, whether this loosening of attentional control has longer term cognitive consequences. In Experiment 1, participants in an induced happy mood were more influenced by distracting information that interfered with responses in the global-local task, particularly when this information was global in nature. Experiment 2 demonstrated that, when previously irrelevant information became solutions on a subsequent task, implicit memory for this distraction was positively correlated with naturally-occurring positive mood. This study corroborates findings that individuals in a happy mood are more affected by distracting irrelevant information. Furthermore, this widened scope of attention can facilitate performance on a subsequent task, a finding with implications for the relationship between positive mood and creativity.
Date24 February 2009
CreatorsBiss, Renee Katherine
ContributorsHasher, Lynn
Source SetsUniversity of Toronto
Detected LanguageEnglish
Format140590 bytes, application/pdf

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