Always look on the bright side of life: the attentional basis of positive emotional disposition

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

605 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

[Truncated abstract] The principal aim of the present research program was to determine the attentional basis of individual differences in positive emotional disposition. There were three phases in the research program. Each phase built on the findings obtained in the previous phases, in ways that was shed further light on the patterns of attentional selectivity that characterise variation in positive emotional disposition. The key issues, and the manner in which they were addressed in each phase of the research program, are described below.
The key purpose of the first phase of research program was to test the hypothesis that an attentional bias to positive information is characteristic of high positive emotional disposition. This hypothesis was addressed by making use of the experimental methodologies that have previously been employed to investigate whether high negative emotional disposition is characterised by an attentional bias to negative information. The findings obtained in the reported study were fully consistent with the hypothesis that an attentional preference for positive information is characteristic of high positive emotional disposition.
The key purpose of the second phase of the research program was to evaluate the veracity of the hypothesis that an attentional bias to positive information causally contributes to positive emotional disposition. The studies reported in this phase were designed to examine whether a transiently induced change in attentional response to positive information serves to subsequently impact positive emotional reactivity to a positive event. The experimental approaches used to investigate the parallel issue in individuals who differ in terms of their negative emotional disposition were drawn upon for this purpose. Specifically, training variants of the attentional assessment task, developed in the first phase, were employed to temporarily modify selective attentional responses to positive information. Participants were then exposed to a novel anagram success task, designed to induce an elevation in positive emotion, to enable the assessment of positive emotional reactivity. Across the reported studies, it was found that the attentional training task was capable of differentially modifying attentional response to positive information, and that such modification differentially impacted the degree to which positive emotional reactivity was increased following a positive event. Hence, the findings were consistent with the hypothesis that an attentional bias to positive information causally contributes to variation in positive emotional disposition.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Always look on the bright side of life: the attentional basis of positive emotional disposition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this