Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This study examines the influence of discrete incidental positive emotions (joy and contentment) on participants' attitudes and cognitive responses. Prior persuasion research has focused almost exclusively on negative emotions or comparisons between positive and negative moods. A 2 (argument strength: weak or strong) x 3 (emotional state: joy, contentment, or neutral) between-participants factorial design was used in this study. Participants (N = 460) were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions. Analyses revealed consistent argument strength effects on attitudes and cognitive responses. Compared to the joy and neutral conditions, participants in the contentment condition tended to generate fewer positive cognitive responses. However, the hypothesis that contentment and joy are associated with different process-style effects was not supported. Suggestions for future research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.