The Undoing Effect of Positive Emotions
- Cite this article as:
- Fredrickson, B.L., Mancuso, R.A., Branigan, C. et al. Motivation and Emotion (2000) 24: 237. doi:10.1023/A:1010796329158
Positive emotions are hypothesized to undo the cardiovascular aftereffects of negative emotions. Study 1 tests this undoing effect. Participants (n = 170) experiencing anxiety-induced cardiovascular reactivity viewed a film that elicited (a) contentment, (b) amusement, (c) neutrality, or (d) sadness. Contentment-eliciting and amusing films produced faster cardiovascular recovery than neutral or sad films did. Participants in Study 2 (n = 185) viewed these same films following a neutral state. Results disconfirm the alternative explanation that the undoing effect reflects a simple replacement process. Findings are contextualized by Fredrickson's broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (B. L. Fredrickson, 1998).