Helpful Hopefulness: The Effect of Future Positive Emotions on Consumption
22 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Feb 2012
Date Written: February 17, 2011
Though positive affect may enhance self-control, some research suggests this is not always the case. To clarify this relationship, we investigate the role of temporal focus on the effect of specific positive emotions on self-control dilemmas in snack consumption. In four studies, we demonstrate that participants experiencing a future-focused positive emotion (i.e., hopefulness) consume less unhealthy food and have lower preferences for unhealthy snacks than those in a past or present-focused emotional state (i.e., pride, happiness). We demonstrate the role of temporal focus through its natural occurrence in emotion induction essays (study 1), chronic temporal focus (study 2), and manipulation of anticipated versus retrospective emotional states (study 3). A fourth study demonstrates that self-control benefits do not arise from future-focused negative emotions (i.e., fear) as they do from future-focused positive emotions. These results suggest that consumers may benefit from adapting the temporal focus of positive emotions to the future.
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