Date of Award
Past research has shown that analogies and metaphors can be useful tools in problem solving tasks (e.g., Gick & Holyoak, 1980). In addition, mood has been shown to have an effect on a person’s ability to generate solutions to problems (Abele, 1992). The present study was designed to investigate how mood affects analogical problem solving, especially in relation to conflict resolution. I examined whether mood has the same effect on the use of analogies to solve interpersonal conflict problems as it does on the use of analogies to solve cognitive problems. In this experiment, participants began by writing about an especially happy or sad personal experience. After this mood induction, participants were presented with one solved interpersonal conflict problem and then its unsolved analogical problem as well as one solved cognitive problem and then its unsolved analogical problem. The participants were then instructed to type all possible solutions to the unsolved problems they read. Results showed that mood did not affect average analogy scores across both problems nor that mood differentially affected cognitive versus interpersonal problems. However, participants in a positive mood showed greater overall average solution efficacy scores, suggesting better overall problem solving abilities. In addition, participants had a more difficult time coming up with analogical solutions for the interpersonal problem as compared to the cognitive problem, but that they had a more difficult time coming up with alternative solutions for the cognitive problem as compared to the interpersonal problem. Implications as well as limitations of this study are discussed.
Good, Erin, "Effects of Mood on Using Analogies to Solve Problems and Reduce Conflict" (2011). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. Paper 95.