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Psychol Sci. 2010 Feb;21(2):211-5. doi: 10.1177/0956797609359622. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

The blues broaden, but the nasty narrows: attentional consequences of negative affects low and high in motivational intensity.

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Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 4235 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Positive and negative affects high in motivational intensity cause a narrowing of attentional focus. In contrast, positive affects low in motivational intensity cause a broadening of attentional focus. The attentional consequences of negative affects low in motivational intensity have not been experimentally investigated. Experiment 1 compared the attentional consequences of negative affect low in motivational intensity (sadness) relative to a neutral affective state. Results indicated that low-motivation negative affect caused attentional broadening. Experiment 2 found that disgust, a high-motivation negative affect not previously investigated in attentional studies, narrowed attentional focus. These experiments support the conceptual model linking high-motivation affective states to narrowed attention and low-motivation affective states to broadened attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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