University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of mood on tunnel vision in crime investigation : can mood decide whether we hold on to our initial beliefs?

Kraanen, L.S. (2015) The influence of mood on tunnel vision in crime investigation : can mood decide whether we hold on to our initial beliefs?

[img] PDF
Abstract:Over the past two decades there has been more and more attention for the influence of affect on decision making (Slovic et al., 2002). When comparing individuals in a happy mood to those in a sad mood, results of various studies show that happiness leads to less cognitive effort and more reliance on heuristics. In contrast, sadness promotes the gathering and systematic analyzing of all evidence and information, which costs more effort (Bodenhausen et al., 1994; Findley, 2006; Lerner & Keltner, 2000). In the present study it is investigated whether a sad mood increases the tendency to process information in a thoroughly and accurate manner, and thereby causes the individual to be less susceptible to contradictory information presented at a later stage. Fifty subjects, representing a sample of the general population, participated in this experimental study and were asked to generate causal scenarios for the disappearance of a young women. Consecutively, they received a realistic prior interpretation constructed by an investigation team, indicating that the father was involved in the woman’s disappearance. Although the presented contradictory information does not provide sufficient proof of the father’s guilt, it was adequate enough to make him suspicious. A 1-factor between subjects design with two levels (sadness versus happiness) was used in this study. The results show that sad participants who initially thought the young women ran away from home, were less willing to alter their initial beliefs than happy participants. However, the most probable scenario was indeed that the woman voluntarily has left her parents’ home. While the interpretation of the police team makes the father suspicious, it does not provide substantial evidence for his guilt. We conclude that sad participants hold on to their initial beliefs, but only when they are correct.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page