Feeling and Speaking:
Affective Influences on Communication Strategies and Language Use
Joseph P. Forgas
University of New South Wales,
Interpersonal communication is imbued with affect. Every social encounter can influence our affective state, and how we feel in turn plays an important role in determining the way we communicate, and how we use language in particular. Surprisingly, social and cognitive psychologists have remained uninterested in the investigation of the role that affective states play in interpersonal communication until quite recently. This talk will summarise a series of our recent experiments exploring mood effects on communication strategies, including informational effects (when affect influences the content and valence of communication), and processing effects (when affect influences the way communication is processed). The experiments will look at affective influences on verbal strategies involving request formulation, negotiation, persuasive communication, performance feedback, self-disclosure, as well as the interpretation of a variety of verbal messages. The results will be discussed in terms of recent theories linking affect to social cognition, and the implications of the findings for everyday social communication and for strategic interpersonal behaviour will be considered.