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Inclusion-exclusion of positive and negative past selves: Mood congruence as information

By Jochen E. Gebauer, Philip Broemer, Geoffrey Haddock and Ulrich von Hecker

Abstract

The current research challenges the widespread truism that recalling a positive self necessarily increases self-esteem, whereas recalling a negative self necessarily decreases self-esteem. Four experiments demonstrate that chronically happy people show a relative increase in self-esteem by recalling either a positive or a negative self. Chronically sad people, however, show a relative decrease in self-esteem by recalling either a positive or a negative self. These effects are due to divergent perceptions of mood congruence between the recalled self and the current self. Specifically, happy people perceive high mood congruence between a recalled positive self and the current self but low mood congruence between a recalled negative self and the current self. In contrast, sad people perceive high mood congruence between a recalled negative self and the current self but low mood congruence between a recalled positive self and the current self. Independent of chronic mood, mood congruence leads to perceptions of temporal recency, whereas mood incongruence leads to perceptions of temporal distance. In line with the inclusion-exclusion model of social judgment, perceived temporal recency elicits assimilation effects on self-esteem, whereas perceived temporal distance elicits contrast effects on self-esteem

Topics: BF
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:142817
Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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