Losses tune differently than gains: how gains and losses shape attentional scope and influence goal pursuit

Sebastian Sadowski*, Bob M. Fennis, Koert Ittersum, van

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Research on the asymmetric effect of negative versus positive affective states (induced by gains or losses) on scope of attention, both at a perceptual and a conceptual level, is abundant. However, little is known about the moderating effect of anticipating gains or losses versus actually experiencing them and about any downstream consequences of these effects on goal-directed behaviour. In two studies, we show that gains versus losses induce qualitatively different processes. In Experiment 1, we demonstrate that the anticipation of monetary gains results in a narrowing of attentional scope, while experiencing gains broadens the scope of attention. We find the reverse pattern concerning monetary losses - while anticipation of monetary losses results in broadening of attentional scope, the actual experience of losses results in narrowing of attentional scope. Additionally, Experiment 2 replicates these findings and shows how differential attentional tuning as a function of the anticipation versus experience of gains versus losses modulates priming-induced goal-directed behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1456
Number of pages18
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume34
Issue number7
Early online date6-May-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Losses
  • gains
  • priming
  • attentional scope
  • attentional tuning
  • MOTIVATED POSITIVE AFFECT
  • NEGATIVITY BIAS
  • LOSS-AVERSION
  • WISHFUL THINKING
  • VISUAL-ATTENTION
  • DURABILITY BIAS
  • MOOD
  • BEHAVIOR
  • BROADEN
  • BRAIN

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