Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1029–1043 | Cite as

A Positive Perspective on Attentional Bias: Positive Affectivity and Attentional Bias to Positive Information

  • Ben GraftonEmail author
  • Colin MacLeod
Research Paper


In recent years there has been growing interest in determining the attentional basis of positive affectivity. Investigators have sought to evaluate the hypothesis that elevated positive affectivity is characterized by an attentional bias that favours the processing of positive information over neutral information. Unfortunately, in the studies carried out to date, the assessment procedures used by researchers to assess such attentional selectivity have either been methodologically limited or methodologically flawed. Hence, the validity of the hypothesis has remained indeterminate. To overcome the problems associated with attentional assessment procedures used in previous studies, and so shed light on the attentional basis of positive affectivity, we employed an appropriate variant of the attentional probe task. Our findings show that participants high in positive affectivity displayed greater relative attention to positive information compared to neutral information, than was the case for their low positive affectivity counterparts. Thus, the present results support the hypothesis that an attentional bias to positive information, relative to neutral information, is characteristic of elevated positive affectivity.


Positive affectivity Attentional bias Attentional probe task 



This work was supported by Australian Research Council Grants DP140104448 and DP140103713, and by a grant from the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS–UEFISCDI, Project Number PNII-ID-PCCE-2011-2-0045.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion, School of PsychologyThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyBabes-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania

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