Can being happy make you less able to resist temptation?

We investigate the interfering influence of elevated arousal on the impact of positive mood on resistance to temptation. Three studies demonstrate that when a temptation activates long‐term health goals, baseline positive mood facilitates resistance to temptation in (1) the choice between two snack items, one of which is more unhealthy, sinful, and hard to resist (M&Ms) than the other (grapes) and (2) the monitoring of consumption when the sinful option is chosen. However, this influence is attenuated when positive mood is accompanied by elevated arousal. We demonstrate that the cognitive depletion that accompanies elevated arousal interferes with the self‐regulatory focus of positive mood, decreasing resistance to temptation.

Source: “Positive Mood and Resistance to Temptation: The Interfering Influence of Elevated Arousal” from Journal of Consumer Research

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