ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (7): 1103-1111.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01103

• Research Methods • Previous Articles     Next Articles

On the Methodological Issues of Studies on Positivity Effect

BI Dandan;HAN Buxin   

  1. (1 Research Center on Aging Psychology, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China)
  • Received:2013-08-03 Online:2014-07-15 Published:2014-07-15
  • Contact: HAN Buxin


From perspectives of time perception and motivation, Socioemotional Selectivity Theory postulated that older adults’ processing of emotional stimuli is positively affected. In comparison with young adults, older adults tend to prefer positive stimuli and avoid negative stimuli. Nevertheless, results of current empirical studies with regards to this positivity effect were inconsistent. Previous literatures on positivity effect showed concerns for four methodological issues. This included 1) the inconsistence between studies regarding the between-group differences (e.g., between two or three groups), 2) the cross-cultural generalizability of the results, and considered that 3) the multiplicity of emotional stimuli, categorization, and mode of presentation were the main reasons for the differences among previous literature, and future research on the positivity effect would require differentiation of the constructs of “emotional bias” and “emotional effect”. Future research on positivity effect can be improved through expanding the age range of participants, validating results based on cross-cultural and cross-region comparison, and improving the ecological validity of stimuli.

Key words: socioemotional selectivity theory, positivity effect, cross-culture, emotional stimuli