The differential impacts of low and high intensity of negative emotions on creative thinking

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology Major in Clinical Psychology


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Adrianne John R. Galang


It is a common notion that creative thinking (CT) can flourish in positive rather than in negative emotion (NE). However, previous researches on emotional valence produced inconsistent results. The aim of this study is threefold. First, it aimed to determine if NE in high and low intensity can produce differential impacts on CT. Then, the emotion regulation strategies such as ruminative and distracting attentional deployment tasks were incorporated to examine their moderating effect on emotional valence and arousal. Lastly, the regulated NE valence and arousal through attentional deployment tasks were hypothesized to mediate the relationship of NE and CT. To investigate the moderating and mediating mechanisms underlying these relations, the model was tested using a 2 (low vs. high NE) x 2 (distraction vs. rumination) mixed factorial experiment (N = 123). Induction of negative emotion included the usage of validated photographs. While attentional deployment was divided between ruminative drawing or distracting coloring of mandala. Three divergent thinking tests were administered as measures of creative thinking. Independent t-test revealed that low intensity NE led to higher CT score than high intensity NE. Mixed ANOVA analyses showed that both rumination and distraction can lower the negative emotional valence and arousal of NE. Furthermore, distraction also led to higher CT score than rumination. A regression-based path analysis indicated a direct effect of negative emotions on creative thinking, direct effect of attentional deployment on regulated valence, but lack of moderation from attentional deployment, and lack of mediation from regulated NE valence and arousal. Significant difference in group comparisons but absence of evidence for causal mechanisms among negative emotion, emotion regulation, and creative thinking implies a more complex interplay of cognitive processes and affective dispositions. Theoretical and practical implications of the study were discussed.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.

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