Forgas, Joseph P. - Affect Infusion Model

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

The Affect Infusion Model (AIM) describes the interaction between mood and information-processing. Not all cognitive processes interact with mood. In order to isolate task types where mood-congruent processing becomes evident, Forgas (1995; Forgas & Williams, 2002) defines two axes of task or problem differentiation. Problems differ in the amount of effort expenditure required to engage them, and also in the relative open-endedness or foreclosure of the potential solutions. Forgas calls open-ended problems constructive, and predetermined or narrow-focused problems reconstructive. Constructive problems require transformation of input into new and unforeseen solutions. Reconstructive problems begin with an obvious solution that is tested and defended against the input. Crossing degree of effort with problem determinacy gives us four basic processing strategies, listed below in PAEI order:

P – Heuristic Processing (Low, Constructive): Open-ended task, not deserving of careful or intensive attention. Mood-based heuristics and momentary emotional cues may be used to produce the judgement and response.

A – Direct Access Processing (Low, Reconstructive): The default mode of social processing when all is going smoothly according with established routines. Since tasks fall in line with expectations, responses are already known, and mood fluctuations do not impact decisions or behaviours very much.

E – Substantive Processing (High, Constructive): Some kind of complex or obscure transformation of inputs is called for. Mood and affect are used to sensitize the person to salient patterns and relevant information in the input. The more substantive processing there is, the stronger the chance that mood infusion will influence the outcome.

I – Motivated Processing (High, Reconstructive): In processing guided by a single affective motive, there need not be much interaction with passing moods, but if many different affective motives emerge, performance is more likely to be mood-based. Much like with Substantive Processing, the greater the variability and open-endedness, the stronger the potential infusion of mood.

1. Forgas, J. P. (1995). “Mood and Judgement: The Affect Infusion Model (AIM).” Psychological Bulletin, 117, 39-66.
2. Forgas, J. P., & Williams, K. D. (2002). The Social Self: Cognitive, Interpersonal, and Intergroup Perspectives (The Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology). New York: Psychology Press.
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