A positive perspective on attentional bias: Positive affectivity and attentional bias to positive information

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Abstract

In recent years there has been growing interest in determining the attentional basis of positive affectivity. Investigators have sought to evaluate the hypothesis that elevated positive affectivity is characterized by an attentional bias that favours the processing of positive information over neutral information. Unfortunately, in the studies carried out to date, the assessment procedures used by researchers to assess such attentional selectivity have either been methodologically limited or methodologically flawed. Hence, the validity of the hypothesis has remained indeterminate. To overcome the problems associated with attentional assessment procedures used in previous studies, and so shed light on the attentional basis of positive affectivity, we employed an appropriate variant of the attentional probe task. Our findings show that participants high in positive affectivity displayed greater relative attention to positive information compared to neutral information, than was the case for their low positive affectivity counterparts. Thus, the present results support the hypothesis that an attentional bias to positive information, relative to neutral information, is characteristic of elevated positive affectivity. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029–1043
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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