Two studies tested the idea that perceptions of choice can alter the self-relevance and emotional impact of thoughts. Participants who were initially in either a positive or negative mood engaged in a thought exercise that involved either positive or negative thinking. Half of the participants received information stressing the optional nature of the task, thereby fostering a sense of choice and personal determination. The results indicate that under high-choice, mood-incongruent thinking was especially self-relevant, memorable, and produced the most mood change. The findings raise new considerations for self-perception and cognitive dissonance theories and offer insights into the relationship between cognition and emotion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology