Are sad people more persuasive?
Based on recent affect-cognition theories and research on social influence strategies, four experiments predicted and found that people in negative mood produced higher quality and more effective interpersonal persuasive messages than did people in positive mood. This effect was obtained for messages advocating both popular and unpopular positions (Experiments 1 and 2), and arguments produced in negative mood actually induced greater attitude change in naïve recipients (Experiment 3). Experiment 4 replicated these effects in an interactive situation, and mediational analyses showed that mood influenced processing style, resulting in the production of more concrete and thus more effective messages when in a negative mood. The role of negative affect in information processing and the production of interpersonal influence strategies in particular is discussed, and the implications of these findings for everyday interaction strategies, and for contemporary affect—cognition theorizing are considered.
Source: “When sad is better than happy: Negative affect can improve the quality and effectiveness of persuasive messages and social influence strategies” from Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 43, Issue 4, July 2007, Pages 513-528
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