Alice M. Isen
Johnson Graduate School of Management and Department of Psychology
This article reviews evidence indicating that, in most circumstances, positive affect enhances problem-solving and decision making, leading to cognitive processing that is not only flexible, innovative, and creative, but also thorough and efficient. These results have implications regarding consumers potential reactions to affect generated by ads, products, consumption situations, and service encounters. These cognitive effects of positive affect are considered in the context of effects on social interaction that show that positive affect leads to helping, generosity, and interpersonal understanding. Together, these findings suggest implications especially for customer satisfaction, and particularly for a role for employee positive affect, or employee satisfaction, in generating customer satisfaction. Moreover, studies specifically in the domain of medical decision making and problem solving indicate that these implications would apply to the specific areas of doctor–patient interaction, medical decision making, and medical consumer satisfaction. Finally, it is suggested that the benefits of positive affect be considered when formulating healthcare policy and be included in economic models and policy decisions more generally as well.