Influence of Different Positive Emotions on Persuasion Processing: A Functional Evolutionary Approach

Vladas Griskevicius, Michelle N. Shiota, Samantha L. Neufeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


Much research has found that positive affect facilitates increased reliance on heuristics in cognition. However, theories proposing distinct evolutionary fitness-enhancing functions for specific positive emotions also predict important differences among the consequences of different positive emotion states. Two experiments investigated how six positive emotions influenced the processing of persuasive messages. Using different methods to induce emotions and assess processing, we showed that the positive emotions of anticipatory enthusiasm, amusement, and attachment love tended to facilitate greater acceptance of weak persuasive messages (consistent with previous research), whereas the positive emotions of awe and nurturant love reduced persuasion by weak messages. In addition, a series of mediation analyses suggested that the effects distinguishing different positive emotions from a neutral control condition were best accounted for by different mediators rather than by one common mediator. These findings build upon approaches that link affective valence to certain types of processing, documenting emotion-specific effects on cognition that are consistent with functional evolutionary accounts of discrete positive emotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-206
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • cognitive processing
  • emotion
  • evolutionary approaches
  • persuasion
  • positive affect


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