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Positive mood and cognition: the moderating role of appetitive motivation, neural and physiological correlates

Positive mood and cognition: the moderating role of appetitive motivation, neural and physiological correlates

Tetchner, Jessica (2017) Positive mood and cognition: the moderating role of appetitive motivation, neural and physiological correlates. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Previous research has found that positive mood results in broader and more flexible cognition, including in relation to control of more complex cognitive processes (e.g., divergent thinking in creativity), as well as those that may be described as being more basic and fundamental (e.g., promoting flexibility over stability in attentional switching). The neuropsychological theory of positive affect suggests these effects may be mediated by an increase in dopamine activity. However, the motivational intensity model suggests that the effect of positive mood on cognition depends on appetitive motivation, such that only positive mood low in appetitive motivation results in broader/more flexible cognition, whilst narrower/more stable cognition occurs as a result of positive mood that is high in appetitive motivation.

Six studies were conducted to examine the differential influence of positive mood that was high and low in appetitive motivation on cognition, as well as to explore the possible underlying neural and physiological mechanisms, using electroencephalogram (EEG) and spontaneous eye blink rate (EBR) – an indirect measure of dopamine activity. Therefore, Studies 1 and 2 examined the effects of positive mood that were high and low in appetitive motivation on creativity, as well as the effect of these on EBR, and the relationships between EBR and creativity. Studies 3, 4, and 5 also explored these effects/relationships, but in relation to the balance between flexibility and stability in cognitive control. Finally, Study 6 used EEG to examine the effect of these mood inductions on left frontal asymmetry in alpha power, assessed using EEG, and the relationship between this and EBR.

Appetitive motivation was found to moderate the influence of positive mood on divergent thinking in creativity, in line with the directional predictions of the motivational intensity model (i.e., performance was enhanced for the low appetitive induction, but attenuated for the high appetitive induction). There was also some evidence that the low appetitive induction resulted in greater flexibility and reduced stability in cognitive control. However, complementary results (i.e., reduced stability and greater flexibility) were not found for the high appetitive induction. Only the high appetitive induction was found to increase EBR, as well as left frontal asymmetry, suggesting this may be associated with increased dopamine activity in the left prefrontal cortex. In addition, there was also some evidence of a negative relationship between EBR and divergent thinking, as well as a positive relationship with left frontal asymmetry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Psychology; positive mood; appetitive motivation; physiology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QP Physiology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 11:57

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