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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mixed emotions

 

When Guilt Begets Pleasure: The Positive Effect of a Negative Emotion

Kelly Goldsmith, Eunice Kim Cho & Ravi Dhar
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Understanding how emotions can affect pleasure has important implications for both individuals and for firms' communication strategies. Prior research has shown that experienced pleasure often assimilates to the valence of one's active emotions, such that negative emotions decrease pleasure. In contrast, we demonstrate that the activation of guilt, a negative emotion, enhances the pleasure experienced from hedonic consumption. We show that this effect occurs due to a cognitive association that exists between guilt and pleasure, such that activating guilt can automatically activate cognitions related to pleasure. Further, we show that this pattern of results is unique to guilt and cannot be explained by a contrast effect that generalizes to other negative emotions. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications these findings have for marketing and consumption behavior.

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Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress and Growth Among Black and White Survivors of Hurricane Katrina: Does Perceived Quality of the Governmental Response Matter?

Alison Rhodes & Thanh Tran
Race and Social Problems, December 2012, Pages 144-157

Abstract:
Data from the Baseline Survey of the Hurricane Katrina Community Advisory Group Study (Kessler 2009) were used to explore the predictors of posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic stress among black (n = 265) and white (n = 715) adult survivors of Hurricane Katrina. We focus on the perceived quality of the governmental response and cognitive processing related to the response on posttraumatic outcomes, and whether there were racial group differences. We also consider the impact of demographic factors and severity of stress. Results of hierarchical linear regression showed that being black, older, having lower educational attainment, and experiencing greater perceived stress and loss during Katrina positively predicted greater posttraumatic growth. Being female, living below the poverty line, and experiencing greater perceived stress and loss positively predicted posttraumatic stress symptoms. More positive views of the governmental response were associated with greater posttraumatic growth and more negative views with greater posttraumatic stress symptomology. Moreover, it was found that race significantly moderated the effect between perceived quality of the response and posttraumatic stress. Subgroup analysis corroborated the interaction effect and showed that while perceived quality of the governmental response significantly predicted posttraumatic stress for black survivors, it was not a significant predictor for white survivors. This study sheds light on some of the factors and conditions under which positive and negative post-trauma outcomes occurred after Katrina. We propose that racial group differences in the impact of perceived quality of the response on posttraumatic stress may be related to views among some black survivors that the emergency response was discriminatory.

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Genes, economics, and happiness

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve et al.
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, November 2012, Pages 193-211

Abstract:
We explore the influence of genetic variation on subjective well-being by employing a twin design and genetic association study. In a nationally representative twin sample, we first show that ∼33% of the variation in life satisfaction is explained by genetic variation. Although previous studies have shown that baseline happiness is significantly heritable, little research has considered molecular genetic associations with subjective well-being. We study the relationship between a functional polymorphism on the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and life satisfaction. We initially find that individuals with the longer, transcriptionally more efficient variant of this genotype report greater life satisfaction (n = 2,545; p = .012). However, our replication attempts on independent samples produce mixed results, indicating that more work needs to be done to better understand the relationship between this genotype and subjective well-being. This work has implications for how economists think about the determinants of utility, and the extent to which exogenous shocks might affect individual well-being.

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Bubbling with Excitement: An Experiment

Eduardo Andrade, Terrance Odean & Shengle Lin
University of California Working Paper, August 2012

Abstract:
In an experimental setting, we study the role of emotions in markets. Our experimental market is modeled on those of Smith, Suchanek, and Williams (1988) and Caginalp, Porter, and Smith (2001). Participants take part in a laboratory market in which they trade a risky asset over a computer network. Prior to trading, they watch short videos that are exciting and upbeat - chase scenes; neutral - segments from a historical documentary; fearful - scenes from a horror movie; or sad - scenes from a drama. Larger asset pricing bubbles develop in experimental markets run subsequent to the exciting videos relative to the other three conditions. The differences in the magnitude and amplitude of the bubbles are both economic and statistically significant. A follow-up study indicates that the phenomenon may be explained by excited people's greater inclination to extrapolate past positive market trends into future asset prices.

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Caffeine Improves Left Hemisphere Processing of Positive Words

Lars Kuchinke & Vanessa Lux
PLoS ONE, November 2012

Abstract:
A positivity advantage is known in emotional word recognition in that positive words are consistently processed faster and with fewer errors compared to emotionally neutral words. A similar advantage is not evident for negative words. Results of divided visual field studies, where stimuli are presented in either the left or right visual field and are initially processed by the contra-lateral brain hemisphere, point to a specificity of the language-dominant left hemisphere. The present study examined this effect by showing that the intake of caffeine further enhanced the recognition performance of positive, but not negative or neutral stimuli compared to a placebo control group. Because this effect was only present in the right visual field/left hemisphere condition, and based on the close link between caffeine intake and dopaminergic transmission, this result points to a dopaminergic explanation of the positivity advantage in emotional word recognition.

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Media Multitasking Is Associated with Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety

Mark Becker, Reem Alzahabi & Christopher Hopwood
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated whether multitasking with media was a unique predictor of depression and social anxiety symptoms. Participants (N=318) completed measures of their media use, personality characteristics, depression, and social anxiety. Regression analyses revealed that increased media multitasking was associated with higher depression and social anxiety symptoms, even after controlling for overall media use and the personality traits of neuroticism and extraversion. The unique association between media multitasking and these measures of psychosocial dysfunction suggests that the growing trend of multitasking with media may represent a unique risk factor for mental health problems related to mood and anxiety. Further, the results strongly suggest that future research investigating the impact of media use on mental health needs to consider the role that multitasking with media plays in the relationship.

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The narcissistic mask: An exploration of ‘the defensive grandiosity hypothesis'

Justin Thomas et al.
Personality and Mental Health, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narcissism has been conceptualized as involving attempts to defend against negative self-schemata (implicit negative beliefs about one's own self-worth). This idea has been termed the ‘mask model of narcissism'. This study explores the mask model, examining the association between extreme narcissistic personality traits and performance on a task purported to assess the influence of negative self-schemata. Participants (n = 232) from the UK and the UAE completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and also performed an incidental learning task involving the surprise recall of self-referential adjectives (traits). A greater recall of negative adjectives was viewed as indicative of negative self-schemata. Looking at the sample as a whole, there were no associations between narcissistic traits and negative adjective recall. However, amongst those scoring in the upper quartile of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, narcissism scores were positively correlated with the recall of negative adjectives even after controlling for age and memory. Narcissism may reflect self-enhancement strategies rooted in negative self-beliefs.

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Expressive Suppression and Acting Classes

Thalia Goldstein, Maya Tamir & Ellen Winner
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
Frequent use of expressive suppression to regulate one's emotions can impair long-term health and well-being for both children and adults. Therefore, there are important pragmatic benefits to identifying contexts in which individuals learn to avoid expressive suppression. We hypothesized that individuals involved in acting classes - a context in which expression of emotion is highly valued - may use expressive suppression as an emotion regulation technique less than do other individuals. Study 1 showed that adolescents majoring in acting at a high school for the arts used suppression less than did adolescents majoring in other kinds of art classes (visual arts, music). Study 2 showed that after 10 months of acting (but not visual arts) classes, expressive suppression decreased in elementary school-age children. These findings suggest that experience in acting may be associated with a decrease in the use of expressive suppression, a relatively maladaptive emotion regulation strategy.

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Refusing to apologize can have psychological benefits (and we issue no mea culpa for this research finding)

Tyler Okimoto, Michael Wenzel & Kyli Hedrick
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite an understanding of the perception and consequences of apologies for their recipients, little is known about the consequences of interpersonal apologies, or their denial, for the offending actor. In two empirical studies, we examined the unexplored psychological consequences that follow from a harm-doer's explicit refusal to apologize. Results showed that the act of refusing to apologize resulted in greater self-esteem than not refusing to apologize. Moreover, apology refusal also resulted in increased feelings of power/control and value integrity, both of which mediated the effect of refusal on self-esteem. These findings point to potential barriers to victim-offender reconciliation after an interpersonal harm, highlighting the need to better understand the psychology of harm-doers and their defensive behavior for self-focused motives.

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Just a perfect day: Developing a happiness optimised day schedule

Christian Kroll & Sebastian Pokutta
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
With the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, and Stone (2004) introduced an important approach in subjective well-being (SWB) research to explore how people experience daily activities. A major unresolved question for laypeople and scholars alike resulting from this research, however, is the neglect of saturation and scarcity effects in this area of study. To fill this gap, we apply methods from optimisation research to the field of SWB. Combining utility functions with DRM data allows us to generate an optimal day schedule: It differs considerably from how people usually spend their time, whereby the distribution of activities is remarkably even. The results show how a paradigm shift away from a focus on increasing Gross Domestic Product towards greater well-being at the macro level could play out at the micro level with potential consequences for how we might live our day-to-day lives.

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We Discount the Pain of Others When Pain Has No Medical Explanation

Lies De Ruddere et al.
Journal of Pain, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present studies investigated the impact of medical and psychosocial information on the observer's estimations of pain, emotional responses, and behavioral tendencies toward another person in pain. Participants were recruited from the community (study 1: N = 39 women, 10 men; study 2: N = 41 women, 12 men) and viewed videos of 4 patients expressing pain, paired with vignettes describing absence or presence of 1) medical evidence for the pain and 2) psychosocial influences on the pain experience. A similar methodology was used for studies 1 and 2, except for the explicit manipulation of the presence/absence of psychosocial influences in study 2. For each patient video, participant estimations of each patient's pain and their own distress, sympathy, and inclination to help were assessed. In both studies, results indicated lower ratings on all measures when medical evidence for pain was absent. Overall, no effect of psychosocial influences was found, except in study 2 where participants indicated feeling less distress when psychosocial influences were present. The findings suggest that pain is taken less seriously when there is no medical evidence for the pain. The findings are discussed in terms of potential mechanisms underlying pain estimations as well as implications for caregiving behavior.

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The effect of challenge and threat states on performance: An examination of potential mechanisms

Lee Moore et al.
Psychophysiology, October 2012, Pages 1417-1425

Abstract:
Challenge and threat states predict future performance; however, no research has examined their immediate effect on motor task performance. The present study examined the effect of challenge and threat states on golf putting performance and several possible mechanisms. One hundred twenty-seven participants were assigned to a challenge or threat group and performed six putts during which emotions, gaze, putting kinematics, muscle activity, and performance were recorded. Challenge and threat states were successively manipulated via task instructions. The challenge group performed more accurately, reported more favorable emotions, and displayed more effective gaze, putting kinematics, and muscle activity than the threat group. Multiple putting kinematic variables mediated the relationship between group and performance, suggesting that challenge and threat states impact performance at a predominately kinematic level.

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For better or for worse: The effect of superior and inferior teammate performance on changes in challenge/threat cardiovascular responses

Christena Cleveland et al.
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, September/October 2012, Pages 681-717

Abstract:
Although much research has investigated the consequences of working with teammates, little research has addressed the effect of team processes on changes in motivational states and associated cardiovascular responses. Filling this gap, we utilized the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat to examine the effect of teammate performance on evaluations of resources and demands in a team performance situation. It was hypothesized that, assuming team identity engagement, individuals who worked with superior teammates would perceive more resources available to them and exhibit a challenge response (a physiological change that indicates relatively high perceived resources), whereas individuals who worked with inferior teammates would perceive less resources and exhibit a threat response (a physiological change that indicates relatively low perceived resources). For four weeks, 38 teams completed team-building exercises and competed in an anagram tournament, during which measures of cardiovascular reactivity were collected. Participants teamed with two confederates who were either inferior or superior performers. The results of the study revealed that despite the fact that they were the best performers on their team, individuals who worked with inferior teammates were threatened. However, individuals who worked with superior teammates were challenged. Explanations of the observed findings and applications for work/organizational contexts are discussed.

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Challenge and Threat Responses to Anger Communication in Coalition Formation

Ilja Van Beest & Daan Scheepers
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on multiparty negotiation has investigated how parties form coalitions to secure payoffs but has not assessed the underlying self-regulatory and physiological principles. Integrating insights from research on the social functions of emotions and the bio-psychosocial model as proposed by Blascovich and colleagues, we assessed threat and challenge responses to anger communication in a three-player coalition setting. Depending on condition, participants were confronted with an angry message from either their initially-preferred coalition partner or from both their preferred and not-preferred coalition partner. Results showed that this manipulation had an impact on the cardiovascular (CV) response of participants and their subsequent behavior. In the "preferred player angry" condition participants displayed a CV-pattern indicative of challenge while in the "all player angry" condition participants displayed a CV-pattern indicative of threat. Moreover, compared to threatened participants, challenged participants were more likely to switch coalition partner. We discuss the implications of these results for theorizing on emotions, coalition formation, and the BPSM.

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Executive well-being: Updating of positive stimuli in working memory is associated with subjective well-being

Madeline Lee Pe, Peter Koval & Peter Kuppens
Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing literature shows that the ability to control affective information in working memory (WM) plays an important role in emotional functioning. Whereas most studies have focused on executive processes relating to emotion dysregulation and mood disorders, few, if any, have looked at such processes in association with happiness. In this study, we examined whether the ability to update positive and negative stimuli in WM (assessed with an affective n-back task) is related to the cognitive and affective components of subjective well-being. Participants who were better at retaining and updating specifically positive (not negative) information in WM displayed higher levels of life satisfaction and affect balance, both at the trait level and in daily life. These results suggest that effective updating of positive information in WM may underlie happy people's ability to maintain and further enhance positive thoughts and emotions.

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The influence of negative oriented personality traits on the effects of wind turbine noise

Jennifer Taylor et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Concern about invisible environmental agents from new technologies, such as radiation, radio-waves, and odours, have been shown to act as a trigger for reports of ill health. However, recently, it has been suggested that wind turbines - an archetypal green technology, are a new culprit in explanations of medically unexplained non-specific symptoms (NSS): the so-called Wind Turbine Syndrome (Pierpont, 2009). The current study assesses the effect of negative orientated personality (NOP) traits (Neuroticism, Negative Affectivity and Frustration Intolerance) on the relationship between both actual and perceived noise on NSS. All households near ten small and micro wind turbines in two UK cities completed measures of perceived turbine noise, Neuroticism, Negative Affectivity, Frustration Intolerance, attitude to wind turbines, and NSS (response N = 138). Actual turbine noise level for each household was also calculated. There was no evidence for the effect of calculated actual noise on NSS. The relationship between perceived noise and NSS was only found for individuals high in NOP traits the key role of individual differences in the link between perceived (but not actual) environmental characteristics and symptom reporting. This is the first study to show this effect in relation to a so called ‘green technology'.

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Is TV Traumatic for All Youths? The Role of Preexisting Posttraumatic-Stress Symptoms in the Link Between Disaster Coverage and Stress

Carl Weems et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In youths, watching TV coverage of a disaster is associated with traumatic-stress symptoms. However, the role of predisaster symptoms in this link has not been addressed. In this study, urban-school youths who had experienced both Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav (N = 141; grades 4-8) were assessed 12 months and 6 months before Gustav and then 1 month after Gustav. The amount of TV viewing was associated with post-Gustav stress symptoms, controlling for pre-Gustav symptoms. However, pre-Gustav stress symptoms interacted with TV viewing in predicting post-Gustav symptoms such that for youths with higher preexisting symptoms, there was a stronger association between TV viewing and level of post-Gustav symptoms. The results advance the literature on the role of media coverage in stress reactions by showing that preexisting symptoms can be an important component of identifying which children are likely to be most negatively affected by TV coverage.

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Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: Implications for the evolutionary function of music

R.I.M. Dunbar et al.
Evolutionary Psychology, October 2012, Pages 688-702

Abstract:
It is well known that music arouses emotional responses. In addition, it has long been thought to play an important role in creating a sense of community, especially in small scale societies. One mechanism by which it might do this is through the endorphin system, and there is evidence to support this claim. Using pain threshold as an assay for CNS endorphin release, we ask whether it is the auditory perception of music that triggers this effect or the active performance of music. We show that singing, dancing and drumming all trigger endorphin release (indexed by an increase in post-activity pain tolerance) in contexts where merely listening to music and low energy musical activities do not. We also confirm that music performance results in elevated positive (but not negative) affect. We conclude that it is the active performance of music that generates the endorphin high, not the music itself. We discuss the implications of this in the context of community bonding mechanisms that commonly involve dance and music-making.

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The Long-Term Impact of Physical and Emotional Trauma: The Station Nightclub Fire

Jeffrey Schneider et al.
PLoS ONE, October 2012

Background: Survivors of physical and emotional trauma experience enduring occupational, psychological and quality of life impairments. Examining survivors from a large fire provides a unique opportunity to distinguish the impact of physical and emotional trauma on long-term outcomes. The objective is to detail the multi-dimensional long-term effects of a large fire on its survivor population and assess differences in outcomes between survivors with and without physical injury.

Methods and Findings: This is a survey-based cross-sectional study of survivors of The Station fire on February 20, 2003. The relationships between functional outcomes and physical injury were evaluated with multivariate regression models adjusted for pre-injury characteristics and post-injury outcomes. Outcome measures include quality of life (Burn Specific Health Scale-Brief), employment (time off work), post-traumatic stress symptoms (Impact of Event Scale-Revised) and depression symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory). 104 fire survivors completed the survey; 47% experienced a burn injury. There was a 42% to 72% response rate range. Although depression and quality of life were associated with burn injury in univariate analyses (p<0.05), adjusted analyses showed no significant relationship between burn injury and these outcomes (p = 0.91; p = .51). Post-traumatic stress symptoms were not associated with burn injury in the univariate (p = 0.13) or adjusted analyses (p = 0.79). Time off work was the only outcome in which physical injury remained significant in the multivariate analysis (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Survivors of this large fire experienced significant life disruption, including occupational, psychological and quality of life sequelae. The findings suggest that quality of life, depression and post-traumatic stress outcomes are related to emotional trauma, not physical injury. However, physical injury is correlated with employment outcomes. The long-term impact of this traumatic event underscores the importance of longitudinal and mental health care for trauma survivors, with attention to those with and without physical injuries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM