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Title: Cultural and contextual variations in ideal affect
Author: Phiri, Natasha N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 9684
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Most affect research has focused on "actual affect", with relatively limited consideration given to "ideal affect", that is the states that people value and would ideally like to feel (Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006). The present research investigated sources of variation in ideal affect, particularly focusing on cultural and context-dependent factors that shape affective preferences. Studies 1 and 2 focused on cultural variations in ideal affect, whereas Studies 3, 4 and 5 focused on sources of variation in context-dependent ideal affect. In Studies 1 and 2, I investigated affective preferences in Brazil, Greece Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Zambia. Results demonstrated an effect of cultural variables on ideal affect. Specifically, ideal high arousal positive (HAP) states were predicted by independent self-construal and influence goals, consistent with previous research. Extending previous work, results also found that power distance and beliefs about emotional expression independently predicted ideal HAP. Ideal low arousal positive affect (LAP) was predicted by interdependent self-construal in line with prior findings. Uncertainty avoidance was also an independent predictor of ideal LAP. In investigating context-dependent ideal affect, I focused on assessing whether an influence target's characteristics in an interpersonal persuasion context would affect ideal affect. In Study 3, results demonstrated that knowledge of an influence target's motivational orientation had an effect on preferences for LAP. However, this effect was not replicated in Studies 4 or 5. Overall, these 5 studies found some support for previous factors that have been identified in shaping ideal affect, while identifying additional sources of cultural variation and pointing to the possibility that another person may influence affective preferences in an interpersonal situation.
Supervisor: Parkinson, Brian Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available