How the Positive Affect facilitates Creative Cognitive Processes

A Short Study: How the Positive Affect facilitates Creative Cognitive Processes


This short study seeks to find out how the positive affect facilitates creative cognitive processes. After shortly introducing the subject it centres on Isen et al’s 1987 experiments Duncker’s (1945) candle problem. It describes the successful experiment and the conclusions drawn from it by the team of experimenters. Next, it draws its own conclusions which are in line with Isen et al’s 1987 experimental conclusions, which held two factors possibly responsible for the facilitating effects of the positive affect on creative cognitive processes. The conclusion discourses briefly on the two factors, elucidating them in terms of emotive influences on cognitive processes.


Mild induced mood states, commonly known as emotions, can affect cognitive processes like attention (Mischel, Ebbesen, and Zeiss, 1973), memory retrieval (Isen, Shalker, Clark and Carp, 1978), evaluative and judgemental processes (Isen and Shalker, 1982) and decision-making under both certainty (Isen and Means, 1983) and risk (Isen, Means, Patrick and Nowicki, 1982) (Mike Oaksford, 1996). This study looks into how such mild induced moods, particularly positive emotions, affect the cognitive process of decision-making, particularly creative or ‘divergent’ cognitive processes. It particularly focuses on the work of Isen et al (1987) on this.
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