Tag Archives: mood

Does Music Increase Risk-Taking, Ethical Lapses?

John DrydenJohn Dryden

John Dryden

What passion cannot Music raise and quell?” asked English poet, playwright, and critic John Dryden in A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day, 1687.

More recently, researchers have identified that music can increase risk-taking and ethically questionable behaviors in experimental settings.

Marja-Liisa Halko

Marja-Liisa Halko

Listening to preferred music was associated with increased risk-taking in a study of 23 adolescents ages 12 to 17 conducted by University of Helsinki’s Marja-Liisa Halko and Markku Kaustia of Aalto University.
Participants identified favorite and most disliked songs, and these tracks provided alternating background music during 16 opportunities to gamble for real money in trials with varying risk.

Volunteers could choose whether to participate or pass on gambles that offered a 50-50 chance to win or lose money.
If they accepted a gamble marked “plus 1.50, minus 1.20,” they had a 50 percent chance of winning 1.5 Euros, and a 50 percent chance of losing 1.2 Euros.
Preferred music was played during 64 gambles, whereas disliked music provided the auditory background during 64 other trials, and another 128 gambles were conducted in silence.

Markku Kaustia

Markku Kaustia

Participants accepted more risky gambles when their favorite music played, and they accepted fewest high risk gambles when accompanied by disliked tunes. These findings suggest that preferred music increases money’s “marginal utility” or additional satisfaction a consumer gains from “consuming one more unit of a good or service.”

Favorite music seemed to encourage people to “do what it takes” to earn more money, even if it involves greater risk and potential loss.

Naomi Ziv

Naomi Ziv

Many people prefer up-tempo music due to its mood-enhancing effects, yet upbeat music may have a darker side:  It can move people to harm others, found NYU’s Naomi Ziv.

More than 100 volunteers spent 90 seconds trying to underline all vowels in an unclear photocopied page of text.
One-quarter of the participants completed the task in silence, while the others heard one of four upbeat musical numbers, including James Brown’s I Feel Good while they finished the job.

Erica Nadera

Erica Nadera

Ziv’s team asked volunteers to inconvenience and disappoint their peers by telling saying that other volunteers couldn’t participate in a study required for academic credit because the researcher didn’t feel like staying during the experiment.

In another study, Ziv’s team asked voluntary participants to tell another volunteer who had been seriously ill that the researcher would not provide previously-promised course material, again because the researcher didn’t feel like doing so.

Steven Brown

Steven Brown

People who heard upbeat music played in the background were significantly more willing to provide the ethically dubious excuse to another volunteer compared with people who completed the task in silence.

Ulrik Volgsten

Ulrik Volgsten

Effective manipulation through music, including its use in advertising and in torture were summarized by Erica Nadera of Rutgers, while MacMaster University’s Steven Brown and Ulrik Volgsten of Örebro University assembled academic articles on music’s social uses and social control processes.

Daniel Västfjäll

Daniel Västfjäll

The specific mechanism to trigger changes in individuals’ experienced affective processes has been called including “musical mood induction procedure” (MMIP) by Linköping University’s Daniel Västfjäll in his review of research demonstrating music’ effect on peoples’ moods and emotions.

Emmett Velten

Emmett Velten

The most frequently-used mood induction procedure was developed by University of Southern California’s Emmett Velten and typically asks participants to read 60 self-referent statements including “This is great, I really do feel good” (elated condition), “I have too many bad things in my life” (depressed condition), and  “This book or any part thereof must not be reproduced in any form” (neutral condition).

However, this approach’s validity and reliability are limited by demand characteristics biasing results because the experimenters’ expectations suggest an implicit demand for specific performance requirements.

David M Clark

David M Clark

As a result, University of Oxford’s David M. Clark developed the Musical MIP eliciting depressed, neutral, and elated mood conditions based on music, and University of Oxford colleague Maryanne Martin noted that the MMIP induced the desired mood more than 75% of experimental trials.

She also concluded that the MMIP was especially efficient in inducing depressed and anxious moods, but inferior to other MIPs (such as Welten’s mood-induction procedure, social feedback, and social recollection) in inducing elated moods

Music’s varied impact on mood, performance, decision-making, pain perception, endurance and other dimensions is discussed in related blog posts, as is its use for beneficial and these less altruistic ends.

-*How do you use music to manage your own and others’ mood and productivity?

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Low Field Magnetic Stimulation To Improve Mood, Learning, Performance?

Michael L. Rohan

Michael L. Rohan

An unexpected observation during a diagnostic MRI brain scan may provide relief for people with medication-resistant, life-threatening depressive disorders.
People diagnosed bipolar disorder (BPD) who had diagnostic MRI brain scans, reported rapid mood elevation after the procedure.

Rinah Yamamoto

Rinah Yamamoto

The magnetic resonance imaging procedure was not intended to be therapeutic, but this unexpected finding led a team from Harvard directed by Michael L. Rohan, and including Rinah T. Yamamoto, Kenroy R. Cayetano, David P. Olson, Caitlin T. Ravichandran, Oscar G. Morales, Gordana Vitaliano, with Cornell colleagues  Steven M. Paul and Bruce M. Cohen in developing Low Field Magnetic Stimulation (LFMS) that reproduces the rapidly oscillating (1 kHz, <1 V/m) electromagnetic field.

They evaluated this device’s potential to provide mood elevation to more than 40 people diagnosed with depression associated with bipolar disorder (BPD) and more than 20 people diagnosed with major depressive disorder in a randomized, double blind, controlled study.

Steven M. Paul

Steven M. Paul

Participants received a single, 20-minute treatment of 256 microsecond pulses separated by 1 millisecond, then Rohan’s team immediately evaluated mood using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-17), and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) scales.

They found substantial mood improvement following LFMS electric stimulation throughout the cerebral cortex, compared with a sham “treatment” for both volunteer groups.

Andre R. Brunoni

Andre R. Brunoni

In fact, six weeks of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) was equally effective as antidepressant Sertraline (Zoloft) for 120 participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder, reported University of São Paulo’s Andre R. Brunoni, Leandro Valiengo, Alessandra Baccaro, Tamires A. Zanão, Janaina F. de Oliveira, Alessandra Goulart, Paulo A. Lotufo, and Isabela M. Benseñor, with Paulo S. Boggio of Mackenzie Presbyterian University and Harvard’s Felipe Fregni.
Both treatments were more effective than either alone when Brunoni’s team combined Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) with Sertraline (Zoloft).

Marom Bikson

Marom Bikson

The typical current dose used in tDCS is a thousand times lower than the dose used in Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), and may enable neural connections to rewire, depending on the position of current flows, found City College of New York’s Marom Bikson and Abhishek Datta, with Peter Bulow of Columbia University, Seton Hall University’s Fortunato Battaglia, John W. Stiller of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Princeton’s Sergei V. Karnup, and Teodor T. Postolache of University of Maryland.

tDCS has also shown potential to improve learning and motor skill performance – with caveats.

Peter E. Turkeltaub

Peter E. Turkeltaub

One study demonstrated tDCS’s impact on improved word reading efficiency among 25 right-handed volunteers, due to increased left lateralization of the brain’s posterior temporal cortex (pTC), reported Georgetown’s Peter E. Turkeltaub with Jennifer Benson of University of Michigan, collaborating with Roy H. Hamilton and H. Branch Coslett of University of Pennsylvania and City College of New York’s Abhishek Datta and Marom Bikson.

The team asserted that these findings offer a low-cost, accessible treatment option for people with below-average reading skills and developmental dyslexia.

Roi Cohen Kadosh

Roi Cohen Kadosh

Likewise, tDCS brain stimulation during numerical learning over five days enhanced people’s ability to learn a new number system based on arbitrary symbols – with significant improvement enduring up to 6 months in a study by University of Oxford Roi Cohen Kadosh, with Sonja Soskic, Teresa Iuculano, Ryota Kanai, and Vincent Walsh of University College London.

However, these benefits came with costs when the team compared volunteers who received electrical stimulation to:

  • Posterior parietal cortex, implicated in numerical cognition,
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, involved in learning and memory.
Sonja Soskic

Sonja Soskic

The team also provided a “sham” treatment that caused no change in brain activity to another.
Volunteers who had the parietal area electrical stimulation learned the new number system more quickly than those who got sham stimulation.

Teresa Iuculano

Teresa Iuculano

However, the cost was slower reaction times when they applied the learned skill to novel tasks.
Those who received prefrontal stimulation were slower than the control group to learn the new numerical system, but they performed faster on the new test at the end of the experiment.

Shinichi Furuya

Shinichi Furuya

Skilled physical performance selectively improved with noninvasive Transcranial Stimulation (tDCS) among musically-untrained volunteers, but not for highly-trained musicians, found Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media’s Shinichi Furuya, Matthias Klaus and Eckart Altenmüller, with Michael A. Nitsche and Walter Paulus of Georg-August-University. 

Vincent Walsh

Vincent Walsh

Further caveats come from University College London’s Vincent Walsh, who critiqued this and other studies, for potential shortcomings, including:

  • Inadequate control experiments,
  • Speculation about brain areas excited and inhibited by tDCS,
  • Real-world relevance of small effects noted in lab experiments.

-*To what extent does electrical brain stimulation offer appealing therapeutic and performance benefits?

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“Default Mode Network”, Positive Mood Increase Creative Problem Solving

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

“Aimless engagement” in an activity can enable a non-linear, integrative “free association” of ideas leading to creative breakthroughs, confirmed Drexel University’s John Kounios.

Graham Wallas

Graham Wallas

Many people recognize this experience of creative “incubation” while performing routine, well-rehearsed tasks, though they may not be aware that nearly 90 years ago, Graham Wallas of London School of Economics proposed this phenomenon one of four stages in the creativity process.

Michael D Greicius

Michael D Greicius

The brain’s posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC) operate as a “default mode network” during this type of relaxed engagement, found Stanford’s Michael D. Greicius, Ben Krasnow, Allan L. Reiss, and Vinod Menon.

Rebecca Koppel

Rebecca Koppel

During free-flowing ideation, these brain regions “untether” thoughts from usual associational “mental ruts” to commingle in original ways.
Fixation forgetting” enables this innovative recombination of thoughts to develop innovative solutions, according to University of Illinois’s Rebecca Koppel and Benjamin C. Storm of University of California Santa Cruz.

Mark Beeman

Mark Beeman

Creative problem solving through insight also involves the right hemisphere’s anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG), an area associated with recognizing broad associative semantic relationships, reported Kounios and colleagues at Northwestern, Mark Beeman, Edward M Bowden, Jason Haberman, Stella Arambel-Liu, and Paul J Reber, collaborating with Kounios and Jennifer L Frymiare, also of Drexel, and Source Signal Imaging’s Richard Greenblatt.

John Kounios

John Kounios

They concluded that creative problem solving requires the ability to encode, retrieve, and evaluate information.
When insight is involved, integration of distantly related information is also needed.

Ruby Nadler

Ruby Nadler

In addition to these skills, University of Western Ontario’s Ruby T. Nadler, Rahel Rabi and John Paul Minda found that cognitive flexibility for problem-solving activates the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex, areas important in creative hypothesis-testing and rule-selection.
Additionally, they confirmed that creative solutions can be enabled by eliciting a positive mood.

Rahel Rabi

Rahel Rabi

The team induced positive, neutral, and negative moods using music clips and video clips, and asked volunteers to classify pictures with visually complex patterns.
People in the positive-mood condition showed better classification learning than those with induced neutral or negative moods, suggesting that upbeat music effectively enhanced creative thinking while boosting innovators’ mood.

John Paul Minda

John Paul Minda

Somewhat surprisingly, capturing ideas through handwriting or typing can attenuate innovation because recording requires a shift to a more linear organization of thoughts, posited Kounios.

-*How can you capture creative solutions while maintaining innovative momentum?

-*How can you prevent “fixation forgetting” from interfering with accessing information required for creative work?

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Gratitude Increases Financial Patience, Investment Earnings

Jennifer Lerner

Jennifer Lerner

Emotions affect personal financial decision-making, and negative emotions like anger and fear can lead people to make either risky or conservative financial choices, according to Harvard’s Jennifer Lerner.

David DeSteno

David DeSteno

With Northeastern University’s David DeSteno, Leah Dickens, University of California Riverside’s Ye Li, Lerner and Columbia University colleague Elke Weber noted that sadness increases impatience and leads to “myopic misery” – focus on immediate gain instead of more profitable longer-term options.

Leah Dickens

Leah Dickens

Lerner and team analyzed participants’ payoff choices when they were in an induced sad state or a neutral emotional condition compared with disgust as a control state.

Ye Li

Ye Li

On average, sad-state participants accepted between 13% and 34% less money to receive a payoff immediately (“present bias”) instead of waiting 90 days for a larger payment, confirming that induced sad feeling led to preference for immediate reward and less patience for a better but more distant payoff.

Elke Weber

Elke Weber

However, these sad volunteers were not more impatient in other generalized areas, suggesting that this effect focuses on impatience for rewards.
In contrast, the negative emotion of disgust did not result in greater impatience, pointing to the specific impact of sad feelings on payoff choices.

Cynthia Cryder

Cynthia Cryder

In a related study, Lerner and team evaluated the impact of induced positive emotions: Happiness and gratitude.
Again, participants could select a smaller, immediate payoff or larger payout later.

Induced gratitude enabled most volunteers to negotiate larger immediate rewards in exchange for giving up a larger, but more distant payment: “…the mean grateful participant required $63 immediately to forgo receiving $85 in three months, whereas the mean neutral or happy participant required only $55 immediately.

James Gross

James Gross

This trend was replicated in other studies by Lerner, Li, and Weber, who reported that average sad-mood participant was willing to accept $4 today instead of $100 in a year, whereas the average neutral-mood volunteer required more than four times as much$19 today to forego $100 in a year.
Another study estimated that sad volunteers accepted between 35% and 79% less money immediately instead of waiting for a future payoff.

Ronald Dahl

Ronald Dahl

This ”misery is not miserly” effect is influenced by the degree of “self-focus” or attention to personal impact in  an observed situation.
When volunteers were primed to focus on their personal reactions while experiencing induced sadness, they gave up more money to acquire a commodity compared with people who had neutral emotions or neutral self-focus, according to Lerner with Washington University’s Cynthia E. Cryder, James J. Gross of Stanford, and University of Pittsburgh’s Ronald E. Dahl.

Gratitude moderates “economic impatience” and suggests that affect-based interventions can help investors enhance financial decision making.

-*How do you manager the impact of transient emotional states on financial decision-making and risk-taking?

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Music Preferences Indicate Personality Traits

Besides individual aesthetic preferences, people may prefer musical genres to “regulate” mood or express self-image.

-*Does personality style shape musical preferences?
-*Does preferred music affect personality?

Peter Jason Rentfrow

Peter Jason Rentfrow

University of Cambridge’s Peter Jason Rentfrow and Samuel Gosling uncovered four music-preference dimensions when they analyzed music preferences of more than 3,500 individuals in six studies:

  • Reflective and Complex
  • Intense and Rebellious
  • Upbeat and Conventional
  • Energetic and Rhythmic

These music-preference categories were related to cognitive abilities like verbal IQ and attitudes like political orientation in addition to Big Five personality dimensions.

In other studies, Rentfrow and Gosling found that musical preference accurately predicted Big Five personality traits including “Openness to Experience”, Extraversion, and Emotional Stability among strangers when they asked same-sex and opposite-sex volunteers with an average age of 18  to “get to know each other” over 6 weeks.

Rentfrow and Gosling found significant correlations between musical genre preferences and Big Five personality characteristics:

  • Blues: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease
  • Jazz: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, at ease, intellectual
  • Classical: High self-esteem, creative, introvert, at ease
  • Rap: High self-esteem, outgoing
  • Opera: High, gentle self-esteem, creative
  • Country and Western: Hardworking, outgoing, emotionally stable
  • Reggae: High self-esteem, creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle, at ease
  • Dance: Creative, outgoing, not gentle
  • Indie: Low self-esteem, creative, not hard working, not gentle
  • Bollywood: Creative, outgoing
  • Rock/heavy metal: Low self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, gentle, at ease, not outgoing,
  • Chart Pop: High self-esteem, hardworking, outgoing, gentle, not creative, not at ease
  • Soul: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease
  • Vocals: Extraverted
Marvin Zuckerman

Marvin Zuckerman

Additional support for the relationship between music preference and personality characteristics came from University of Melbourne’s David Rawlings and Vera Ciancarelli in their study correlating responses on University of Delaware’s Patrick Little and Marvin Zuckerman‘s Music Preference Scale and the NEO Personality Inventory (Revised).

Individuals who scored high on extraversion and women tended to prefer
“Popular Music
” and those who scored high on “Openness to Experience” showed strong “Breadth of Musical Preference.”

This study related “sensation seeking” to musical preferences and confirmed speculation that people who seek greater levels of environmental stimulation through auditory, visual, gustatory, and other experiences tend to like complex, intense music.

High scorers on Sensation Seeking Scale form V preferred Rock music and but not Soundtrack music and those who scored high on Thrill and Adventure Seeking subscale and Experience Seeking subscale liked Folk and Classical music in addition to Rock music.
As might be expected, participants who scored high on the Disinhibition subscale liked Rock but not Religious or Soundtrack music.

Hans Eysenck

Hans Eysenck

“Extraversion” has been related to “sensation seeking” in Hans Eysenck’s seminal research.
Southern Illinois University’s Stephen J. Dollinger demonstrated that people who report behaviors and traits associated with extraversion tend to prefer Jazz, which has “high arousal properties” and those who endorse “excitement seeking” behaviors said they prefer Hard Rock music.

Stephen Dollinger

Stephen Dollinger

These generalizations may change as people age, so Nazarene University College’s Kelley Schwartz and Gregory Fouts of University of Calgary examined 164 adolescents’ music preferences in relation to personality dimensions and developmental issues.

Gregory Fouts

Gregory Fouts

Those who preferred music with “heavy” or “light” qualities reported personality and developmental difficulties, but those who preferred “eclectic” music reported no personality or developmental concerns.

Schwartz and Fouts concluded that adolescents prefer music that reflects personality characteristics and developmental challenges, supporting Renfrow and Gosling’s caveat that results for adult musical preferences may not reflect the same personality characteristics among people in other age groups.

Taken together, these findings on personality trends related to musical preferences among adolescents and adults suggest that when people master specific developmental issues, music relevant to those challenges may no longer be appealing, and preferences may change.

-*To what extent do you prefer music that “regulates” your mood and productivity?

-*How accurately can you infer people’s personality traits from their musical preferences?

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Emotional Music Can Lead to Biased Judgments

Joydeep Bhattacharya

Joydeep Bhattacharya

Emotions elicited by music influence can influence and even bias visual judgments, according to University of London’s Nidhya Logeswaran and Joydeep Bhattacharya.

They presented volunteers with short excerpts of “happy” music or “sad” music, then showed neutral, “happy,” and “sad” faces.
When people listened to a “happy” music, they were more likely to perceive faces as “happy” even when the face was neutral.
Similarly, the “priming” with “sad” music was associated with more ratings of faces as “sad,” even if they were neutral.

The team also observed the effects of musical “priming” in electrophysiological measures of brain potential components within 100 milliseconds after the faces were presented, suggesting rapid neuronal information processing.

Even if listeners’ perceptions and judgments can be biased by emotional music, listeners do not experience the precise emotions they hear in music.

Kiyoshi Furukawa

Kiyoshi Furukawa

Listeners can identify strong emotions conveyed by music, but do not experience the same degree or type of emotion, according to Tokyo University of the Arts’s Ai Kawakami and Kiyoshi Furukawa, who collaborated with University of Tokyo’s Kentaro Katahira and Kazuo Okanoya.

Kazuo Okanoya

Kazuo Okanoya

Kawakami and team distinguished “perceived emotion” from “felt emotion” in response to music, and presented two pieces of “sad” music (Mikhail Glinka’s “La Séparation” in F minor) and one piece of “happy” music to 44 volunteers, both musicians and non-musicians.

Mikhail Glinka

Mikhail Glinka

Participants rated their perceived emotions and felt emotions in response to each musical selection using 62 descriptions on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 4 (very much).
Although participants recognized the “sad” music’s negative emotions, most reported feeling “romantic,” and “blithe,” rather than negative or unpleasant.

Muzak

Muzak

“Muzak” (now Mood Media) audio in workplaces can evoke emotional responses that may lead to biased business decisions.

As long ago as the 1950s, concerned American citizens claimed that Muzak practiced “brainwashing” with its planned musical sequences in quarter-hour segments.

Muzak Stimulus ProgressionMuzak’s playlist is synchronized to time of day to “increase energy” at predicted low-energy times based on its patented “Stimulus Progression.
These 15-minute sequences feature about six songs with varying “stimuli values,” based on tempo, rhythm, instrumentation and orchestra size.
The next 15-minute period features silence.
Mood Media
Over a 24-hour period, tunes with higher “stimulus value” are played when people are typically “lethargic” – 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and slower songs are played “after lunch” and at the end of the work day.
Muzak claimed that this programming “increases morale and productivity at workplaces, increase sales at supermarkets, and even dissuade potential shoplifting at department stores.”

The emotional tone of music may bias other cross-sensory judgments.
Adrian C. North, working at University of Leicester and Herriott Watt University, tested the effect of music in a supermarket on wine selections and olfactory/gustatory judgments wine’s properties.

North ensured that French accordian music or German Bierkeller brass band music were played on alternating days for two weeks at the supermarket.
French wines and German wines had similar prices and their order on the shelf was changed each day.

After 82 shoppers selected wines, an interviewer asked customers to complete a questionnaire about the purchase, including:

  • Preference for French or German wines
  • Extent to which the music brought to mind France or Germany
  • Degree to which the music influenced specific wine selection.

The results from 44 shoppers suggest that music influenced shoppers’ wine selections:  More French wine was sold when French music played (40 bottles of French wine vs 8 bottles of German wine), and more German wine was sold when German music played (22 bottles of German wine vs 12 bottles of French wine).

North concluded that barely audible music can implicitly, unconsciously affect thoughts, perceptions, decisions, and even buying action.

Charles Areni

Charles Areni

Music can trigger thoughts similar to the music’s mood, context, or speed, according to the Preference-for-prototypes model proposed by Macquarie University’s Charles Areni and David Kim of Texas Tech.

-*When have your judgments and performance been altered by ambient music?

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Transference in Everyday Life Biases Memory, Emotions

-*Ever catch yourself in what feels like an irrational re-enactment of well-practiced scenarios from your past, but recreated in the present with someone entirely different?

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

 Sigmund Freud described this experience as “transference,” redirecting feelings applicable to one person, often an important figure in one’s childhood, onto a different individual in the present.

Though the current recipient of feelings may have different characteristics, motivations, and behaviors than the original person, something about the present individual triggered unconscious reenactment of earlier feelings.

Susan Andersen

Susan Andersen

NYU’s Susan Andersen and Alana Baum demonstrated transference in lab studies when they asked volunteers for descriptions of important people in their lives for whom they had positive feelings or negative feelings.
To contrast the results, Andersen and Baum also presented descriptions of other people’s significant others.

Later, Anderson and Baum described an unknown person seated next door, using either the emotionally-positive or emotionally-negative descriptions of someone from the volunteer’s life or someone else’s life.

Participants demonstrated transference when they more completely recalled the stranger next door’s description when it resembled their own significant other rather than someone else’s.

Recall was enhanced because the salient features of the significant other’s description were memorable when assigned to a new person.
This demonstrated biased inference and memory based on “accessibility” and distinctiveness of the earlier triggering memory, according to Anderson’s collaborators Steve W. Cole and Noah Glassman.

Transference is an outgrowth of attachment to others in the past, according to Queens College’s Claudia Chloe Brumbaugh and R. Chris Fraley University of Illinois.

R. Chris Fraley

R. Chris Fraley

In their research , participants learned about two potential dating partners:  One description resembled a romantic partner from the past whereas another description matched another participant’s former partner.

These volunteers reported feeling both less avoidant and more anxious toward potential dating partners described as similar to previous significant others.
Brumbaugh and Fraley noted that participants “applied attachment representations of past partners” to any potential future partner, but to a greater extent when the new partner was described as resembling an important past partner.

Susan Fiske

Susan Fiske

Earlier, Princeton’s Susan Fiske described this transfer of affective responses to a new individual, as schema-triggered affect and Andersen teamed with Berkeley’s Serena Chen to summarize the socio-cognitive explanation for transference.

People modify views of themselves and others in transference situations.

Serena Chen

Serena Chen

Katrina Hinkley and Andersen demonstrated that volunteers modified their working self-concept and biased recall of details about the new person when a representation of an earlier significant other was “activated.”

 In their study, participants learned about the new person.
When re-evaluated, participants’ list of the new person’s attributes changed to include elements of the self when with the former significant person.

Michael Kraus

Michael Kraus

Transference occurs even when a target person possesses an attribute incompatible with the significant other’s characteristics, found University of Illinois’s Michael W. Kraus with Berkeley’s Chen, Victoria A. Lee, and Laura D. Straus.

Participants demonstrated transference in biased memories and judgments about a person they perceived as similar to a former significant other.

This effect was manipulated to elicit positive impressions even when the target was from an ethnic out-group, suggesting ways to reduce stigma and discrimination by evoking positive transference from past experiences to present actors.

Baum and Anderson demonstrated that transient mood during a current transference experience is related to one’s positive or negative interpersonal role with the significant other, and whether this role is consistent with the new person’s role.

They observed that participants’ transient mood was more positive when the target of their transference resembled their own significant other and occupied a similar role to the original person.

This suggests that transference in the workplace can be most problematic when current people seem similar to others from the past, including their work roles, and evoke negative emotions associated with earlier interactions.

-*How do you manage transference reactions in work and social situations?

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