The Influence of Positive Affect on the Unusualness of Word Associations

Alice M. Isen, Mitzi M.S. Johnson, Elizabeth Mertz, Gregory F. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

610 Scopus citations


A pilot study and two experiments investigated the influence of positive affect, induced in three differing ways, on the uniqueness of word associations. Persons in the positive-affect conditions gave more unusual first-associates to neutral words, according to the Palermo & Jenkins (1964)norms, than did subjects in the control conditions. In Study 3, where word type (positive, neutral, negative) was a second factor along with affect, in a between-subjects design, associates to positive words were also more unusual and diverse than were those to other words. These results were related to those of studies suggesting that positive affect may facilitate creative problem solving and to other work suggesting an impact of positive feelings on cognitive organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1426
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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