Feeling bad? The “power” of positive thinking may not apply to everyone


Ng, W., & Diener, E. (2009). Feeling bad? The “power” of positive thinking may not apply to everyone. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(3), 455-463.


The present studies demonstrate that effects of cognitive strategies on emotions are moderated by neuroticism. In Study 1, individuals low in neuroticism who used effective strategies extensively felt less negative emotions in a hypothetical unpleasant situation than those who used such strategies minimally. However, cognitive strategy use did not affect individuals high in neuroticism. Study 2 found a similar moderating effect when participants were taught to use the different types of cognitive strategies. Likewise, reappraising a past unpleasant event helped low-neuroticism individuals feel less negative about it than their counterparts who focused on the event, but did not help high-neuroticism individuals (Study 3). In conclusion, cognitive strategies strongly influenced how low-neuroticism individuals felt, but had no effects on high-neuroticism individuals.

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