Attentional bias and well-being: How the bias that feels best can be bad for us.

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This chapter reviews work that has sought to examine how biased patterns of attentional responding to affectively valenced information can contribute to variability in both emotional and situational well-being. It begins by critically appraising the cognitive–experimental procedures that have most commonly been employed to assess such attentional bias. Next, the chapter considers findings from research that have employed these assessment approaches to investigate how individual differences in attentional bias toward either negatively toned or positively toned affective information may contribute to variability in emotional disposition. The chapter then discusses research that has examined how the selective processing of aversive information concerning prospective threat and selective attentional responding to positively toned appetitive stimulus information may impact the prospect of engaging in behaviors that have the capacity to enhance or impair situational well-being. In doing so, this chapter highlights the possibility that these types of attentional biases may directly contribute to dissociation between emotional and situational well-being, either by evoking negative emotion while also increasing the prospect of adaptive behavior or by evoking positive emotion while increasing the prospect of maladaptive behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Positive Emotion and Psychopathology
EditorsJune Gruber
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190653224
ISBN (Print)9780190653200
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


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