The future is bright? effects of mood on perception of the future
Hepburn SR., Barnhofer T., Williams JMG.
Most people believe that the future will bring them more good things than bad, and therefore have high hopes for the future (MacLeod et al. Cogn Emot 10:69-85, 1996). However, many patients with mood disorders do not hold this positive belief about the future. At the extreme, low expectations of positive outcomes in the future can lead to feelings of hopelessness (O'Connor et al. Psychol Health Med 5:155-161, 2000). This paper aims to extend the literature on subjective probability of future events, using a mood induction paradigm to examine the effects of transient mood change on perceived likelihood of future events in a non-clinical community sample. Participants rated likelihood of future events from a standardized list and from their own lives. Ratings were made in both normal and experimentally-induced positive or negative mood. Results show that self-generated future events were perceived to be more likely than those from a standardized list, and that negative mood significantly biased perceived likelihood of other-generated future events. Participants rating standardized list events saw positive outcomes as less likely and negative outcomes as more likely in induced negative mood than they did in normal mood. Mood had no effect on ratings of self-generated events. Possible directions for future research are discussed. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008.