I recently blogged about how good mood may lead to diminishing of working memory and I have blogged in the past regarding how good mood + intuitive thinking styles may lead to Magical thinking.
Now there appears a new study that shows that good mood, in and of itself, may lead to more reliance on Intuition or conscious gut feelings while making decisions. DeVries et al use the Iowa Gambling Task to ascertain whether an experimental manipulation (watching 2.5 minutes happy or sad clips) affected the performance on the IGT, in the window (20 to 40 cards from start) when the participants were using the conscious gut feeling or intuition to form their decisions . What they found was that a good or happy mood made the people rely more on their intuitive or conscious gut feelings vis-a-vis controls and the negative mood had the opposite effect of making them more deliberative. This was reflected in respectively good and poor performance on the second block of trial in the two affect cases . I present below the abstract of the study.
The present research aimed to test the role of mood in the Iowa Gambling Task . In the IGT, participants can win or lose money by picking cards from four different decks. They have to learn by experience that two decks are overall advantageous and two decks are overall disadvantageous. Previous studies have shown that at an early stage in this card-game, players begin to display a tendency towards the advantageous decks. Subsequent research suggested that at this stage, people base their decisions on conscious gut feelings. Based on empirical evidence for the relation between mood and cognitive processing-styles, we expected and consistently found that, compared to a negative mood state, reported and induced positive mood states increased this early tendency towards advantageous decks. Our results provide support for the idea that a positive mood causes stronger reliance on affective signals in decision-making than a negative mood.
I tend to put this in a broader context and it is apparent to me that good mood leads to more reliance and usage of intuitive thinking styles. this may even be mediated by the fact that working memory deficits associated with good mood prevent a deliberative approach to problem solving and instead favors an affective driven or intuitive approach. Taken together this implies that good mood leads to more intuitive thinking and decision making style. However, we have seen earlier that good mood and an intuitive thinking style are a dangerous mixture and lead to Magical thinking styles. Taken together this would mean that good mood induces a positive runaway process that causes more reliance on intuitive thinking which causes more
Magical thinking style and ultimately the good mood spirals upwards from good mood to Mania to full blown psychosis. I am excited by these linkages as they may provide additional points of attack where one can address the cognitive factors behind Mania / Psychosis and lead to additional therapeutic paradigms. How about you? Does this correlation and causation form Mood to Intuition to Magical thinking excite you too?