Is It Better to Be Happy or Right? Examining the Relative Role of the Pragmatic and Epistemic Imperatives in Momentary Affective Evaluations

Inon Raz*, Niv Reggev, Michael Gilead*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

According to research highlighting the importance of predictions, the confirmation of expectations may be a positively-laden experience. A strong test of this principle is the case of the “doomsayer’s delight”: the possibility that belief confirmation can be rewarding even when negative expectations are realized. In order to investigate this idea, we conducted two high-powered experiments examining people’s immediate affective reactions following exposure to expected or unexpected positive and negative stimuli. The results show that people feel significantly worse when their pessimistic expectations are confirmed than when their optimistic expectations are violated. This finding was not moderated by several theoretically relevant individual difference measures or temporal dynamics. Findings from this study contribute to our understanding of the interplay between epistemic and pragmatic motivations in guiding emotional responses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmotion
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1113/18

    Keywords

    • affect misattribution procedure
    • affective response
    • cognitive consistency
    • hypothesis validation
    • motivation

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Is It Better to Be Happy or Right? Examining the Relative Role of the Pragmatic and Epistemic Imperatives in Momentary Affective Evaluations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this