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October 2021

Mood and heuristics: The influence of happy and sad states on sensitivity and bias in stereotyping

Author(s): Banaji, M. R.

Journal/Book: J Personal Soc Psychol. 2000; 78: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 1005-1023.

Abstract: The influence of mood states on the propensity to use heuristics as expressed in stereotypes was examined using signal detection statistics. Participants experienced happy, neutral, or sad moods and ''remembered'' whether names connoting race (African American, European American) belonged to social categories (criminal, politician, basketball player). Positive mood increased reliance on heuristics, indexed by higher false identification of members of stereotyped groups. Positive mood lowered sensitivity (d'), even among relative experts, and shifted bias (beta) or criterion to be more lenient for stereotypical names. In contrast, sad mood did not disrupt sensitivity and, in fact, revealed the use of a stricter criterion compared with baseline mood. Results support theories that characterize happy mood as a mental state that predisposes reliance on heuristics and sad mood as dampening such reliance.

Note: Article Park J, NICHHD, Child & Family Res, Suite 8030, 6705 Rockledge Dr, Bethesda,MD 20892 USA

Keyword(s): OUT-GROUP HOMOGENEITY; SOCIAL JUDGMENT; POSITIVE AFFECT; CATEGORIZATION; RECOGNITION; PERCEPTION; PERSUASION; COGNITION; IMPACT; EXPERT


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