The emotional impact of chosen and imposed thoughts

Richard M. Wenzlaff, James P. Lepage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Two studies tested the idea that perceptions of choice can alter the self-relevance and emotional impact of thoughts. Participants who were initially in either a positive or negative mood engaged in a thought exercise that involved either positive or negative thinking. Half of the participants received information stressing the optional nature of the task, thereby fostering a sense of choice and personal determination. The results indicate that under high-choice, mood-incongruent thinking was especially self-relevant, memorable, and produced the most mood change. The findings raise new considerations for self-perception and cognitive dissonance theories and offer insights into the relationship between cognition and emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1502-1514
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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