Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

R. Brian Giesler


Prior research has demonstrated that positive affect can facilitate goal achievement, typically by having an 'energizing' effect during goal pursuit. However, a recent study (Wainwright, 2011) suggested that positive affect may also result in improved goal achievement if it is experienced specifically at the time of goal adoption. The present study, which was conducted in two sessions, examined whether positive affect during goal adoption can still facilitate later performance on a mental rotation task after a substantial delay period. During the first session, participants were first induced into either a positive or a neutral affective state using video clips. Participants then were either asked to adopt an explicit goal to perform well on a mental rotation task, or they were merely exposed to the task without explicit goal adoption. During the second session, which occurred one week later, participants actually completed the mental rotation task, and their performance was analyzed in terms of speed and accuracy. Participants who explicitly adopted the goal in a positive mood performed marginally significantly better than those who explicitly adopted the goal in a neutral state. However, the former group did not perform better than participants who were merely exposed to the task and did not explicitly adopt the goal. This study provides supportive evidence that positive affect during goal adoption facilitates later goal performance.

Included in

Psychology Commons