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Sad mood promotes self-initiated mental contrasting of future and reality

Kappes, Heather Barry ORCID: 0000-0002-6335-3888, Oettingen, Gabriele, Mayer, Doris and Maglio, Sam (2011) Sad mood promotes self-initiated mental contrasting of future and reality. Emotion, 11 (5). pp. 1206-1222. ISSN 1528-3542

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Identification Number: 10.1037/a0023983


Self-regulation by mentally contrasting a positive future with negative reality leads people to differentiate in their goal commitments: They commit to goals when expectations of success are high and let go when expectations of success are low. On the contrary, when indulging in the positive future or dwelling on negative reality, people fail to consider expectations of success and do not form selective goal commitments (Oettingen, Pak, & Schnetter, 2001). Whereas prior research has examined the effects of experimentally induced mental contrasting, we address sad mood as a contextual influence promoting self-initiated mental contrasting. Across various mood inductions, sad moods—which are associated with problem solving strategies—facilitated self-initiated mental contrasting more than neutral moods (Studies 1, 5) or happy moods (Studies 2, 3, 4, 6). Importantly, mood did not affect the relation between mental contrasting and selective formation of goal commitment (Studies 5, 6). The results suggest that sad moods aid in self-regulation by making people self-initiate goal commitments that are sensitive to their expectations of success.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 American Psychological Association
Divisions: Management
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2012 10:23
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2024 16:45

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