Approach-motivated positive affect reduces broadening of attention
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Research has found that positive affect broadens attention. However, the type of positive affect previously manipulated has been low in approach motivation. High approach-motivated positive affect should reduce the breadth of attention, as organisms shut out irrelevant perceptions and cognitions while they approach and attempt to acquire desired objects. Three studies examined the attentional consequences of approach-motivated positive affect states. Consistent with predictions, participants showed less global attentional focus after viewing approach-motivating positive pictures as compared to neutral pictures (Studies 1 and 2). Specifically, Study 1 used approach-motivating pictures of appetitive desserts, while Study 2 used pictures of cute animals. Neutral pictures were of varying neutral objects. Study 3 manipulated both affect and approach motivation. Less global focus was found for participants who viewed the approach-motivating pictures and had the expectancy to obtain the items as compared to other participant groups. The results indicate that high approach-motivated positive affect reduces the breadth of attentional focus, in contrast to the broadening of attentional focus that has been found with low approach-motivated positive affect.
Gable, Philip Arvis (2007). Approach-motivated positive affect reduces broadening of attention. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from