Afraid to feel good: Is fear of emotion associated with creative problem solving?
Degree awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University Previous literature indicates that increased positive affect leads to greater creative problem solving ability. However, high fear of positive emotion (FOPE) individuals may not capitalize on positive mood inducing situations either because they resist the induction of positive mood or have their positive feelings blunted by the simultaneous experience of fear/anxiety. Experiencing less positive affect than low FOPE individuals could lead to inferior performance on creative problem solving tasks following a positive mood induction. Participants had their FOPE, neuroticism, and pre-induction mood assessed, underwent either a positive or neutral mood induction, and took tests of two domains of creative problem solving, divergent thinking and relational thinking. The hypotheses of the study were not confirmed. High FOPE participants exhibited greater residual positive affect post-induction than low FOPE participants, and there was no relationship between positive affect and creative problem solving in the sample. Potential explanations for these unexpected results are discussed.