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Mood-as-input theory and specific negative moods for perseverative checking and worrying

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:34 authored by Frances Meeten
The mood-as-input hypothesis predicts that perseveration at an open-ended task is determined by “stop rules” for the task and by the valency of the mood. Stop rules define a person’s goals in task attainment, e.g. stopping after doing as much as they can, or stopping when they no longer feel like continuing. This thesis will examine the combined effects of stop rules and specific negative moods (sadness, anxiety, anger) on perseverative worrying and checking tasks, and the influence of specific negative moods on personal performance standards. The final study explores the impact of experimentally induced mood on a worry task when the mood source is made highly salient i.e. attributed to an obvious event or source. On a perseverative checking task, different negative mood and stop rule combinations were found not to affect participant performance. However, using a personally-relevant worry task, participants in each specific negative mood condition persevered for longer using an “as many as can” rule compared with those using a “feel like continuing” rule. The opposite was found for participants in a happy mood. The effects of sadness and anxiety on personal performance standards and stop rule preference were also examined. Findings suggest a positive relationship between sad and anxious moods and “as many as can” stop rule preference. An attempt to manipulate mood attribution after inducing an angry mood showed marginally significant differences in attribution by the high and low manipulation groups, but no effects of mood attribution on task performance. These findings suggest that with a catastrophic worry task, participants in each specific negative mood condition using an “as many as can” stop rule persevered for longer compared with those using a “feel like continuing” stop rule. The implications of this work are discussed in relation to mood-as-input accounts of perseveration and models of mood.


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