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Psychol Sci. 2008 May;19(5):476-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02112.x.

Approach-motivated positive affect reduces breadth of attention.

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1
Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 4235 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA. pagable@gmail.com

Abstract

Research has found that positive affect broadens attention. However, these studies have manipulated positive affect that is low in approach motivation. Positive affect that is high in approach motivation should reduce the breadth of attention, as organisms shut out irrelevant stimuli as they approach desired objects. Four studies examined the attentional consequences of approach-motivated positive-affect states. Results were consistent with predictions. Participants showed less global attentional focus after viewing high-approach-motivating positive stimuli than after viewing low-approach-motivating positive stimuli (Study 1) or neutral stimuli (Study 2). Study 3 found that greater trait approach motivation resulted in less global attentional focus after participants viewed approach-motivating positive stimuli. Study 4 manipulated affect and approach motivation independently. Greater approach-motivated positive affect caused lower global focus. High-approach-motivated positive affect reduces global attentional focus, whereas low-approach-motivated positive affect increases global attentional focus. Incorporating the intensity of approach motivation into models of positive affect broadens understanding of the consequences of positive affect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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