How positive affect modulates cognitive control: New insights into the specificity of positive affect effects

Kerstin Fröber
2013
Converging evidence suggests that positive affect modulates cognitive control by increasing cognitive flexibility. The present thesis is aimed to shed further light on this relationship between positive affect and cognitive control by investigating possible influences of arousal (Part I), dissociating between proactive and reactive control (Part II), and testing an increased novelty bias under positive affect (Part III). Arousal differences between positive affective states were manipulated by
more » ... ere manipulated by inducing affect via pictures from the International Affective Picture System. Furthermore, different paradigms including informative cues, non-informative cues, or no cues at all were used to dissociate between proactive and reactive control, because only in situations with informative cues performance can be optimized by using a proactive control strategy. Finally, an experiment using a Stroop-like word-picture interference task with familiar and new distractors was run to gather evidence for an increased novelty bias under positive affect. Results showed very specific influences of positive affect on cognitive control, thereby exceeding the existing literature: Specifically positive affect with low arousal as compared to positive affect with high arousal was found to reduce proactive control. In contrast, the present data showed no evidence for an affective modulation of reactive control. Moreover, Part III of the present thesis succeeded in presenting first empirical evidence for an increased novelty bias under positive affect with low arousal. All results will be discussed with respect to the existing literature on positive affect and cognitive control.
doi:10.5283/epub.28441 fatcat:jye7vlvu65gflprd7po4icxj2e