Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Sopot Faculty
In order to explain the influence of affect on judgments a functional approach is proposed in the article. The author demonstrates that an emotional stimulus influences judgment: a) in the direction in which it prompts (assimilation effect), b) in the opposite direction (contrast effect) or c) not at all; and that the influence is not determined by awareness / lack of awareness of the stimulus itself, but by the strength of motivation. Many experiments applying the affective priming paradigm supported the notion that the attenuation of self-control through deactivation of goals or cognitive overloading leads to an assimilation effect. In these cases assimilation was observed even in response to long-lasting exposition of affective stimuli (1000 msec, which is sufficient for conscious perception). However, intensifying self-control, i.e. error checking (monitoring), favored contrast effects, also in the case of preconscious attention engagement (when the exposure time was too short for conscious perception – e.g. 20 msec). Such a phenomenon can be explained by attention-automatic rebound hypothesis, derived from Wegner’s theory of ironic processes of mental control. A compilation of research and a preliminary experiment support this hypothesis.
Keywords: affective assimilation, affective contrast, intuitive self-control, conscious attention, modes of information processing
Cite this article as:
Kolańczyk, A. (2007). Self-control and the influence of affective stimuli on judgments. Psychologia Społeczna, 3, 7-22.