Drawing inferences from feelings: The role of naive beliefs

Questions how people bring an apparently relevant feeling “about” the target to bear on the specific judgment at hand. It is suggested that inferences that a person may draw from a feeling are constrained by the person's naive beliefs about the working of the mind and the nature of emotions. The authors discuss whether people draw different context-dependent inferences from the same subjective experience. A review of empirical findings is presented. It is concluded that the inferences drawn from experiential information are context dependent, as are the inferences drawn from any other information. The available evidence suggests that this context dependency usually does not reflect a high malleability of meaning of the experiential information itself: ease of recall indicates that a large rather than a small amount of information is available in memory, fluency of processing indicates familiarity rather than novelty, and a positive mood indicates a positive rather than negative apparent reaction to the stimulus. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the chapter)