2. Mood

2.1. Definitions and presentation

Since this work focuses on mood effects on self-regulatory behavior, the following sections will disentangle and elucidate some basic concepts.

2.1.1. Motivation

The term motivation has been used for over a century in the vocabulary of psychology. As other psychological concepts, its meaning has varied over time (e.g., R. C. Beck, 2003; Buck, 1985; Franken, 1993; Hull, 1943; Kleinginna & Kleinginna, 1981a; H. A. Murray, 1938; Rommanes, 1881) and only in 1953 motivation was established as an independent area of research (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2007).

Motivation is a psychological notion, i.e., a latent construct to explain behavior. Therefore we can only infer motivation through behavioral cues, there is no direct observation. According to Chamorro-Premuzic (2007), motivation is an internal state that: (a) drives people into action, which involves (b) goal setting; (c) energizes, directs and perpetuates behavior in direction of the (d) satisfaction of needs and drives, (e) can produce arousal, (f) general psychological force, and it is (g) dynamic, rather a process than a trait. The concept of human motivation can be described by a complex process which is reasoned by four basic dimensions: the initiation, the direction, the intensity, and the persistence of behavior (Geen, 1995; Vallerand & Thill, 1993). This means that human motivation can vary on those dimensions across individuals but also across situations: People may differ in the behavioral choices they make, the vigor or intensity of their actions, and the tenacity or persistence with which they pursue their goals.

Thus, motivation research can centre on one basic question about behavior: with what level of effort.

This is precisely one of the core issues of the present thesis. The empirical part of our research program

concentrates on the intensity aspect of motivation as enounced in motivational intensity theory (Brehm

& Self, 1989).

2.1.2. Affect, emotion, and mood

Affect, emotion and mood are concepts that have been interchangeably used in the literature.

These concepts are frequently used in a lenient way, suffering from the absence of clear definitions for each (Forgas, 1991, 1999; Frijda, 1986). The term affect is broadly used as the higher-order term for subjective experiences, which can have a positive or negative valence. Therefore, this wider concept is often applied to designate emotions and moods (Bower & Forgas, 2000; Schwarz & Clore, 1996; Scott &

Ingram, 1998). However the distinction between mood and emotion seems to pose more problems, since their relation is not clear (e.g., Barret & Russel, 1998). There are perspectives that consider that each individual is at any time in a certain mood, which is interrupted by specific emotions (Morris, 1989). But the opposite view can also arise: emotion often drives a state of latent mood that persists even beyond the effect of emotions.

Emotions are normally triggered in response to a specific significant object or situation that is easily identified, and are also intense enough to disrupt cognitive processes (e.g., Frijda, 1993, Simon, 1982; for a review see Zajonc, 1998). They are defined as a short affective state, which is object-related and specific emotions involve a clear and stable motivational function (Arnold, 1969; Duffy, 1941; Izard, 1977; Leeper, 1948; Oatley & Johnson-Laird, 1996; Plutchik, 1980). Emotions define the organism's relationship with the environment and involve specific action tendencies to change or maintain it. As emotions are goal-orientated, they aim to provide the resources to a specific action tendency, like autonomic nervous system activity (Cacioppo, Klein, Berntson, & Hatfield, 1993; Cacioppo, Berntson, Larsen, Poehlmann & Ito, 2000; Frijda, 1986; Levenson, Ekman, & Friesen, 1990; Levenson, 1992;

Davidson & Cacioppo, 1992; Plutchik, 1980). Therefore, emotions prepare the body for action toward the emotion-eliciting events (e.g., Arnold, 1960; Batson, Shaw, & Oleson, 1992; Brehm, 1999; Frijda, 1986; Izard, 1993; Lang, 1979; Lazarus, 1991; McDougall, 1908; Plutchik, 1980; Young, 1961). Rather than being considered “states”, emotions are conceptualized as “processes”, because they involve different stages of conscious or unconscious information processing and appraisals (Scherer, 1982).

Specifically, emotions involve consideration of elaborated and conscious information regarding actions’

antecedents and consequents, resulting in different emotional reactions to them (see Clore, Schwarz, &

Conway, 1994).

Although there are divergent opinions about the definition of mood, especially concerning its relationship with emotion (Morris, 1999), there are some unique aspects of moods. As Fridja (1993) claims, “moods are usually distinguished from emotions by one of three criteria: longer duration, lower intensity, and diffuseness or globality” (p. 381). Thus, contrary to emotions, moods are not typically identified with a particular stimulus. However emotions often lead to a state of latent mood that persists even beyond the effect of emotions. So moods can also be relatively specific "residuals of emotions" with eliciting incidents of which individuals are no longer aware (Bollnow, 1956). They are generalized feeling states that are pervasive, present in the background, and less accessible to consciousness (Forgas, 1995a). Furthermore, unlike emotions, moods are not sufficiently intense to interrupt ongoing cognitive processes (e.g., M. S. Clark & Isen 1982; Thayer 1989), and consequently they do not interrupt individuals’ behavior (Ellis & Moore, 1999; Hänze & Hesse, 1993). Moreover, whereas moods are often – but not always (e.g., Russell & Barrett 1999) – described in terms of their underlying dimensions (e.g., positive and negative) (e.g.,Watson 2000), emotions tend to be treated in their discrete forms (e.g., anger, fear, and joy) (e.g., Plutchik 1994). Moods are generally described on the basis of two-dimensional models (Russell 1978, Russell & Bullock, 1986, Wundt, 1897) being the most common dimensions valence – which represents moods’ pleasant (positive) or unpleasant (negative) aspect –, and intensity – representing the strength of the mood. In summary, moods are generally described as diffuse and long-lasting affective states which are not directly object-related and that are experienced without concurrent awareness of their origins (Averill, 1980; Bollonow, 1956; M. S.

Clark & Isen, 1982; Forgas, 1995a; Frijda, 1993; Gendolla, 2000; Schwarz, 1990; Schwarz & Clore, 1996;

Wyer, Clore, & Isbell, 1999; see Wilson, Laser, & Stone, 1982, for an empirical demonstration). Since moods are not object-related, recent research from our lab (e.g., de Burgo & Gendolla, in press – see Experimental part) points out that mood per se does not have specific and stable motivational implications.

Moods are naturally influenced by innumerous aspects, like the diurnal rhythm (Robbins & Tanck, 1987), the weather (Schwarz & Clore, 1983), changes in the endocrine system (Ashby, Isen, & Turken, 1999; Canter, 1972), odors (Ehrlichman & Halpern, 1988), light and illumination (Baron, Rea, & Daniels, 1992), the distribution of ions in the air (Baron, 1987), and the environmental pleasantness in general (Schwarz, Strack, Kommer, & Wagner, 1987).

Moods also seem to have an informational function: it has been demonstrated that moods can activate information in memory (see Bower, 1981; Blaney, 1986; Forgas, 1995a) and also serve as diagnostic information for evaluative judgments (see Clore et al., 1994; Schwarz, 1990; Gendolla, 2000).

Recent research from our lab (e.g., de Burgo & Gendolla, in press, 2009 – see Experimental part) points out that mood per se does not have specific and stable motivational implications, which derives from the notion that moods are not object-related. Therefore, contrary to emotions, we also consider that moods do not involve autonomic activation. Studies from our lab demonstrated that during mood induction there is no cardiovascular reactivity (e.g., de Burgo & Gendolla, in press, 2009; de Burgo, Gendolla & Richter, 2009; Gendolla & Küsken, 2002; Silvestrini & Gendolla, 2007).

2.1.3. Self-regulation

The present research program explores mood effects on cardiovascular reactivity in self-regulation. The concept of regulation results from models describing the physiological processes related to homeostasis of organisms, namely the process by which the internal systems of the body maintain a balanced stable equilibrium. To cope with internal or external changes, organisms must have a homeostatic control system allowing them to minimize this variation and to maintain the balance of the body relatively constant (Vander, Sherman, & Luciano, 1994). In addition to physiological regulation, human beings have to regulate their behavior, their thoughts and their emotional states, which can be integrated into the concept of self-regulation (Mischel, 1973). Generally, the regulatory process is divided into three parts: the current state, the desired state, and a loop informing the imbalance between the two states (Carver & Scheier, 1990a; Powers, 1973). Following this idea, the goal of behavioral self-regulation is to reduce the perceived discrepancy between current and desired state.

Self-regulation comprehends several other aspects that are beyond the scope of this thesis.

Dans le document Mood and mental effort : informational mood impact on cardiovascular reactivity and the context-dependency of moods (Page 18-21)