Scientists explore effects of emotions

Jan 31, 2006

Researchers say people who have negative emotions without knowing their source often allow the emotions to affect decisions on unrelated issues.

"When we do not know the cause of our negative states -- referred to as mood states by psychologists -- we use the moods themselves as information about our environment," explain Rajagopal Raghunathan of the University of Texas-Austin, Michel Pham of Columbia University and Kim Corfman of New York University.

They demonstrated the effect by putting subjects into a sad, anxious or neutral mood, then having them make choices unrelated to the source of their feelings. While both anxiety and sadness exerted a strong influence on decision-making, different types of negative emotions encouraged different choices.

"While anxiety triggers a preference for options that are safer and provide a sense of control, sadness triggers a preference for options that are more rewarding and comforting," write the authors.

Even when subjects identified the cause of the emotions, decisions moderately or superficially related to that cause were still affected by the emotions.

The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Eastern Oregon dig uncovers ancient stone tool

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fashionable or geeky—the modern watch dilemma

2 hours ago

It's Milan fashion week, you've got tickets to the catwalk shows and an outfit to die for, but which watch to wear? A chunky smartwatch or chic ticker that can't tell the time?

Recommended for you

Eastern Oregon dig uncovers ancient stone tool

9 minutes ago

Archaeologists have uncovered a stone tool at an ancient rock shelter in the high desert of eastern Oregon that could turn out to be older than any known site of human occupation in western North America.

Professor takes madness out of the month

3 hours ago

With the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketballl Tournaments tipping off soon, brackets and bubble-busters are reaching a fever pitch. Dr. Jay Coleman, the Richard deRaismes Kip Professor of Operations Management and Quantitative ...

Seven strategies to advance women in science

5 hours ago

Despite the progress made by women in science, engineering, and medicine, a glance at most university directories or pharmaceutical executive committees tells the more complex story. Women in science can ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.