The Role of Motivated Social Cognition in the Regulation of Affective States

Authored by: Maureen Wang Erber , Ralph Erber

Handbook of Affect and Social Cognition

Print publication date:  November  2000
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805832174
eBook ISBN: 9781410606181
Adobe ISBN: 9781135670061


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So much of current American culture revolves around being happy: We quickly terminate unhappy marriages, we shirk difficult moral issues because they make us uncomfortable, we medicate ourselves and our children to alleviate the mildest depressions and slightest hints of hyperactivity, we are constantly bombarded with messages that consuming goods will bring us joy and make us happy. Quick fixes and easy outs. Thus, on surveying this cultural and moral landscape, it would be easy to conclude that the motive of modern man (and woman) is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. In emotional terms, this would translate into being motivated to maintain positive moods while avoiding or ridding ourselves of negative, unpleasant ones. Although hedonistic this principle is certainly a potent and undeniable one, (Bentham, 1789) we suggest that there is more to our emotional lives than this. This chapter presents our thinking and research in support of a broader, contextual model of mood regulation and processing.

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