Feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling at-risk: A review of incidental affect's influence on likelihood estimates of health hazards and life events

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Abstract

The recent increased interest among researchers in the ways in which emotion, mood, and affect influence risk perceptions is an important step in better understanding how people understand and perceive health risk information. However, the literature involving incidental affect (ambient mood) is not as well known. The 23 years of research examining incidental affect's influence on likelihood estimates of health hazards and life events has not previously been integrated and examined critically. This comprehensive review found that incidental affect influenced likelihood estimates in a predictable way. Individuals experiencing positive affect made more optimistic likelihood estimates than did individuals experiencing negative affect. Individuals experiencing negative affect made more pessimistic likelihood estimates than did individuals experiencing positive affect. Anger was unique among negatively valenced emotions by influencing judgments in the same way as positive affect (i.e., relatively optimistic likelihood estimates). Three theoretical explanations are offered, including one that addresses the role of anger specifically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-595
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Emotion
  • Likelihood estimate
  • Mood
  • Perceived risk
  • Probability estimate

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