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Negative affective environments improve complex solving performance

Barth, Carola Maria ; Funke, Joachim

In: Cognition & emotion, 24 (2010), Nr. 7. pp. 1259-1268

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Based on recent affect-cognition theories (Bless et al., 1996; Fiedler, 2001; Sinclair, 1988), the present study predicted and showed a differentiated influence of nice and nasty environments on complex problem solving (CPS). Environments were constructed by manipulating the target value ‘‘capital’’ of a complex scenario: Participants in the nice environment (N=42) easily raised the capital and received positive feedback, whereas those in the nasty environment (N=42) hardly enhanced the capital and got negative feedback. The results showed that nasty environments increased negative and decreased positive affect. The reverse was true for nice environments. Furthermore, nasty environments influenced CPS by leading to a higher information retrieval and a better CPS performance. Surprisingly, the influence of environment on CPS was not mediated through affect (cf. Soldat & Sinclair, 2001), as recent affect-cognition theories suggest. The missing influence of affect and the strong impact of environment are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Cognition & emotion
Volume: 24
Number: 7
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2013 10:58
Date: 2010
Page Range: pp. 1259-1268
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Behavioural and Cultural Studies > Institute of Psychology
Subjects: 150 Psychology
Schriftenreihe ID: Works by Joachim Funke
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