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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1988, Vol.55,No. 5,710-717

Summary: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1988, Vol.55,No. 5,710-717
Copyright 1988 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
Influence of Positive Affect on the Subjective Utility
of Gains and Losses: It Is Just Not Worth the Risk
Alice M. Isen
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Thomas E. Nygren
Ohio State University
F. Gregory Ashby
University of California, Santa Barbara
A modification of the procedure originally used by Davidson, Suppes, and Siegel (1956) to measure
subjective utility was used to study the influence of positive affect on individuals' perceived value
(utility) functions. Results indicated, as expected, that persons in whom positive affect had been
induced showed a more negative subjective utility for losses than did controls. This indicates that
losses seem worseto people whoare feeling happy than to those in a control condition. The subjective
utility functions of the two groups did not differ as much, however, when people were considering
potential gain. Thus, at least in the situation tested in this study, potential gains did not seem to be
more appealing (nor lessso) for affect subjects than they did for controls. These findings are discussed


Source: Ashby, F. Gregory - Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences