A Place for Individual Differences in What Everyone Knows About What Everyone Does: Positive Affect, Cognitive Processes, and Cognitive Experiential Self Theory


Correspondence: Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, USA. Email: kingla@missouri.edu


Individual differences are often incorporated into experimental research to elucidate inconsistent effects. We argue that the inclusion of such differences into established and seemingly straightforward findings is imperative to the goal of reaching a more complete understanding about the processes of interest. Drawing on research on the cognitive effects of positive affect, we illustrate how integrating individual differences in cognitive processing styles to this literature might lead to a more nuanced understanding of the impact of affect on cognitive processes. The addition of individual differences to psychological research should be seen as a means to a thorough scientific comprehension of a topic rather than as burdensome caveats to otherwise straightforward findings.