Cognitive and affective feelings: Nature, function and inter-relations - POCTI/PSI/42239/2001 (2002 - 2005)

Project Leader:

Teresa Garcia Marques


Project's Summary:

The studies included in this project proceed the work developed by Garcia-Marques and MacKie (Garcia-Marques, 1999; Garcia-Marques & MacKie, 2000). Here we hypothesized that affect exert a regulatory function of how information is processed (Damasio, 1994; Garcia-Marques, 1999; Simon, 1967) and that familiarity and mood exert parallel effects on processing. These studies test approach the close relationship between these two feelings, challenging the idea that familiarity is a cognitive and that mood is an affective feeling (Clore, 1994). The basic assumptions tested are: "familiarity is a positive feeling" and that “familiarity has a information processing mode regulatory function". First-assumption is tested within the affective-priming-experimental paradigm (Fazio, 1986), whereas stimulus familiarity is expected to interfere with positive and negative words evaluations. Second-assumption is addressed by a set of studies developed within the mental-model approach (Johnston-Laird & Byrne, 1991), showing that familiarity and positive mood induce less analytical processing.

Two sets of studies test the main hypothesis showing that measure of familiarity interfere with sequential and/or simultaneous measurement of affect.

In sum, this project, aims to contribute to the understanding of the nature and function of the feelings of mood and familiarity, as well as how they inter-relate with the information-processing-system.


Project’s aims:

The General goal is to study the relation between cognitive and affective feelings and the role that these feelings may have in processing.This encompasses four empirical goals:
1.Providing more extensive and stronger tests to the hypothesis that familiarity is a positive feeling, by developing several studies based on adaptations of some classic experimental paradigms.
2.Providing better tests to the hypothesis that, valenced feelings impact mode of processing (assuming a dual processing view) by examining parallel effects of mood and familiarity in different contexts of reasoning and problem solving. The goal is to detect differences in ways of processing, not in the quality of the output.
3.Understanding of the relationship between mood and familiarity, by showing that self-report of mood and familiarity, is based on the same phenomenal experience (a experience of positivity), using as an analogy the processes of activation/inhibition related with homografic words (e.g. Simpson & Krueger, 1991).
4.Development of some material, and measures that will support not only the project's studies but also other future studies in the field.

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