The motivational dimensional model of affect: Implications for breadth of attention, memory, and cognitive categorisation

Cognition and Emotion 24 (2):322-337 (2010)
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Abstract

Over twenty years of research have examined the cognitive consequences of positive affect states, and suggested that positive affect leads to a broadening of cognition (see review by Fredrickson, 2001). However, this research has primarily examined positive affect that is low in approach motivational intensity (e.g., contentment). More recently, we have systematically examined positive affect that varies in approach motivational intensity, and found that positive affect high in approach motivation (e.g., desire) narrows cognition, whereas positive affect low in approach motivation broadens cognition (e.g., Gable & Harmon-Jones, Citation2008a; Harmon-Jones & Gable, 2009). In this article we will review past models and present a motivational dimension model of affect that expands understanding of how affective states influence attentional and cognitive breadth. We then review research that has varied the motivational intensity of positive and negative affect and found that affect of low motivational intensity broadens cognitive processes, whereas affect of high motivational intensity narrows cognitive processes.

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