Temporal focus, temporal distance, and mind-wandering valence: Results from an experience sampling and an experimental study
Number of pages
SourceConsciousness and Cognition, 41, (2016), pp. 104-118
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
SW OZ BSI KLP
Consciousness and Cognition
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment
When mind-wandering, people may think about events that happened in the past, or events that may happen in the future. Using experience sampling, we first aimed to replicate the finding that future-oriented thoughts show a greater positivity bias than past-oriented thoughts. Furthermore, we investigated whether there is a relation between the temporal distance of past- and future-oriented thoughts and the frequency of positive thoughts, a factor that has received little attention in previous work. Second, we experimentally investigated the relation between temporal focus, temporal distance, and thought valence. Both studies showed that future-oriented thoughts were more positive compared to past-oriented thoughts. Regarding temporal distance, thoughts about the distant past and future were more positive than thoughts about the near past and future in the experiment. However, the experience sampling study did not provide clear insight into this relation. Potential theoretical and methodological explanations for these findings are discussed.
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