chapter  13
The Upside of Feeling Down: The Benefits of Negative Mood for Social Cognition and Social Behavior
Pages 18

W hat exactly is the relationship among the rational, cognitive, and emo-tional or affective faculties of human beings? Affective states have a significant influence on how people think and behave in social situations, yet the relationship between feeling and thinking, affect and cognition remains one of the greatest remaining puzzles about human nature (Eich et al.; Winkielman & Kavanagh, this volume). Affect is a powerful phenomenon in people’s lives, yet the functions of affective states and their influence on thinking and strategic social behaviors have received less than adequate attention. Rather than seeing affect, and especially negative affect, as dangerous and subverting rational judgment and behavior, growing recent evidence suggests that affective states are a useful and even essential component of adaptive responding to social situations (Adolphs & Damasio, 2001). Affect also plays a crucial role in how people organize and represent their social experiences (Forgas, 1979) and is an integral aspect of social thinking and behavior (Bower, 1981; Zajonc, 1980, 2000).