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07-05-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2020

The Effects of Affective Expectations on Experience in Individuals Varying in Anhedonia

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2020
Auteurs:
Sarah J. Horne, Emily E. Bernstein, Richard J. McNally
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Abstract

Background

We examined the relationship between affective expectations and experience in individuals varying in anhedonia. Individuals with anhedonia often show deficits in anticipatory pleasure but enjoy activities more than they expect they will. The purposes of this research were to (1) test whether we can manipulate the affective expectations of individuals varying in anhedonia, and (2) gain insight into how expectations affect enjoyment of activities in these individuals.

Methods

In this experiment, participants were given instructions to induce high or low expectations before watching an amusing Candid Camera video. Group assignment was randomized. Expected and experienced amusement ratings were collected before and after viewing the video, respectively. We ran this experiment in two samples: MTurk and university students.

Results

The high expectation manipulation increased the expected amusement reported by individuals both high and low on anhedonia. Raising the expectations of individuals high and low on anhedonia led to greater levels experienced amusement and interest in engaging in similar activities in the future.

Conclusions

Future research should determine whether we can use expectation effects to improve motivation in anhedonic individuals, so that they can engage in more enjoyable activities and improve their treatment outcomes.

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