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Mood and central vs. peripheral processing

 

Explanations > Emotions > Mood > Mood and central vs. peripheral processing

Sadness and happiness | So what? | See also

 

We use central processing, as in the Elaboration Likelihood Model, when thinking deeply about a subject. When we are in this mode we are more open to reasoned persuasion. When we are in more of a 'don't care' state, we are more likely to use peripheral, heuristic processing. 

Mood-Congruent Judgment and the Affect Infusion Model show us how our mood affects how we think. A part of this thinking is 

Sadness and happiness

Sadness is different to happiness in that happy people want to stay happy, but sad people do not usually want to stay sad (if they do, then it's time to visit the therapist!). In consequence, sad people will pay more attention to persuasive messages that suggest how they could be happier.

Happy people are likely to process persuasive messages by the peripheral route unless they are concerned such processing may lead to them becoming less happy. They may also ignore sad-making messages and only pay more attention to messages that would make them much happier.

When we are processing peripherally, we also are more likely to use and respond to arguments that use stereotypes.

So what?

If you want people to pay attention, either make them sad (or at least feel threatened) or tell them how to be happier still. If you want to persuade them subconsciously or respond to stereotyping, get them happy first.

See also

Affect Infusion Model, Elaboration Likelihood Model, Mood Memory, Mood-Congruent Judgment

 

 

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