Feelings as information: Implications for affective influences on information processing

The feelings-as-information model addresses the use of experiential information in judgment and reasoning. It treats moods as one of the many different types of affective and nonaffective feelings, all of which share the quality that they can serve as a source of information. Mood effects on evaluative judgment are traced to the use of a “How do I feel about it?” heuristic, whereas mood effects on processing style are traced to the information that our feelings provide about the problematic or benign character of our current psychological situation. Both effects are eliminated when the informational value of the mood is called into question. Mood effects on creativity are briefly discussed. The model is relatively silent on issues of mood-congruent memory, although the findings reviewed herein indicate that mood effects on evaluative judgments may affect subsequent recall. Importantly, any test of the model–and any attempt to rule out that an observed mood effect is not due to the informative functions of feelings–requires manipulations of the perceived informational value of the feeling under study. Unfortunately, the absence of such manipulations renders many findings in this area ambiguous with regard to the underlying processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the chapter)