Feeling happy and (over)confident: the role of positive affect in metacognitive processes

Yael Sidi, Rakefet Ackerman, Amir Erez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between affect and metacognitive processes has been largely overlooked in both the affect and the metacognition literatures. While at the core of many affect-cognition theories is the notion that positive affective states lead people to be more confident, few studies systematically investigated how positive affect influences confidence and strategic behaviour. In two experiments, when participants were free to control answer interval to general knowledge questions (e.g. question: “in what year”, answer: “it was between 1970 and 1985”), participants induced with positive affect outperformed participants in a neutral affect condition. However, in Experiment 1 positive affect participants showed larger overconfidence than neutral affect participants. In Experiment 2, enhanced salience of social cues eliminated this overconfidence disadvantage of positive affect relative to neutral affect participants, without compromising their enhanced performance. Notably, in both experiments, positive affect led to compromised social norms regarding the answers’ informativeness. Implications for both affect and metacognition are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-884
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Positive affect
  • control over grain size
  • metacognition
  • overconfidence
  • strategic regulation of memory accuracy


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