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Positive or Negative Mood of the Subject
The current study examines the issue of how the positive or negative mood of the subject, as well as attractiveness of the candidate, can influence the decision-making within the hiring process. The method presented in the study is conducting an experiment. Twenty single women participated in it. The certain mood was created for them using two types of video. Then they were asked to make the decision on hiring the attractive or unattractive candidate. The expected results of the study suggest that people in a negative mood pay more attention to details. It involves that the attractiveness is not a defining factor for them. At the same time, positive individuals are prone to be influenced by the attractiveness of the candidate.
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The Research Question
The mood of a person can be very difficult to control sometimes, but, at the same time, it strongly influence the cognitive functions of the person, as well as his/her decision-making. It has a complex nature and is generally characterized by two poles, which are usually described as a positive (good) and the negative (bad). Good mood is characterized by the rise of energy and enthusiasm, and the bad by stress, anxiety, and depression. A vast array of empirical data shows that a bad mood, resulting in depression and anxiety, is associated with reduced cognitive flexibility. The research question of the current study is how being under a negative mood or positive mood alongside with attractiveness affect job hiring decisions. For example, if you connect good mood with attractiveness, will that make the candidate more favorable in receiving the job? If you connect bad mood with attractiveness, will that make the candidate less favorable or focus on detail more closely? And, why people under negative mood tend to focus more on detail than the ones under positive mood?
The Importance of the Study
First of all, it should be mentioned that in most psychology definitions, mood is described as an independent phenomenon, characterized by emotions. For example, the same phenomenon can simultaneously cause both emotion and mood, which can coexist, influencing each other. Sometimes, the mood is considered as a kind of mental state. In most cases, it occurs when people try to characterize the state, highlighting the particular mood. However, it is a mistake to consider the mood as an independent kind of state, since the mood is only part of the mental state. In addition to this state, it also includes physiological, physiological, social, psychological, and other components. The personal emotions and mood are very important in our personal and working spheres of life. For example, one will hardly dare to speak to his boss about a raise in wages, if he knows that he had just quarreled with his wife. Undoubtedly, the relationship between the boss and his wife should not be related to the issues of wages, but, nonetheless, bad mood tends to overflow and have some influence on decisions-making, as well as a good mood.
The task of hiring process is to evaluate candidates for employment. In fact, this task is narrowed to the fact that a worker who is able to achieve the expected results of the organization should be hired. In fact, conducting the assessment is a form of preliminary control of the organization human resources quality. Despite the fact that there are many different approaches to the evaluation, they all can be influenced by a common drawback, which is subjectivity. Thus, there is a certain correlation between decision-making and certain personal factors of those who are responsible for hiring.
At the same time, high rate of current changes requires greater flexibility in the selection criteria. Such fact necessitates examining the conformity of human and workplace more broadly. In order not to be mistaken with the choice, it is important to evaluate the candidate impartially. The evaluation shall relate to different spheres of life and activity of a specialist, including both professional and personal. In this respect, one can talk about a comprehensive investigation. The HR manager cannot decide to employ candidate only on the basis of his/her assessment of appearance or due to own good mood. Personality characteristics are not less important, because if the individual system of human values does not coincide with the values of the organization or its plans for the future, it is not possible to expect the long-term work of the candidate in the company.
Thus, the attractiveness of the candidate cannot be the decisive criteria when deciding of employment. IN addition, when evaluating people, it is necessary to consider not only the skills of performing specific activities that they possess, but their potential, compliance with the requirements of future work, which are the social and physical environments (in particular, technologies), the corporate culture, the ability to interact with a wide range colleagues, the willingness to move within the organization, etc. These are the details which could be overlooked due to subjective evaluation of the candidate or positive mood. One should not divide the employees into attractive and unattractive. From the point of view of the employer, it is more effectively to speak of appropriate and inappropriate specialists, taking into account the particular time, phase of organizational development, and business needs. Therefore, it is crucially important to identify the correct selection criterion, which is compliance with corporate culture of the candidate, and not only their attractiveness or just good mood of the employee.
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Relation to the Previous Research and Extension of Knowledge of the Topic in Question
Unfortunately, most of the information dealing with mood and decision-making is contained in scientific papers on clinical depression. Only few authors have studied the relationship between the cognitive changes of mood and decision-making beyond the clinical practice. However, Canadian psychologist Morris (2013) studied how mood affects the ability to be attentive to the details. The studies were conducted on a group of student volunteers, preceded by the two types of problems. In the first test, they were required to solve a creative problem associated with the need to handle unusual association of words. The second test involved solving visual tasks on the background of artificial interference. The subjects solved the problem several times. At the same time, they experienced a certain mood: good, bad, and neutral. To create the desired emotional state during the experiment, a sound was used. For a good mood, jazz arrangement of Brandenburg Concerto by Bach was used; for the bad one, the music of Prokofiev at half speed; for the neutral, the subjects regarding statistics on Canada were read.
It turned out that a good mood contributes to better lateral thinking and the ability to scope the problem as a whole. On the other hand, focused, tunnel thinking, which is a characteristic of the depressed state of mind or fear, contributes to a more successful solution of tasks requiring concentration and attention to details. Neurological mechanisms of such phenomenon are unclear, but scientists believe that most likely they are related to the way how the brain filters and processes the incoming information. According to the study, when people are in a good mood, their brain filter opens wide, contributing to global or intuitive thinking, in which it processes a large flow of information. However, if it is necessary to concentrate on the certain single issue, a wide focus (i.e. a good mood) is rather harmful (Morris, 2013).
In another study by Bodenhausen, Kramer, and Siisser (1994) the influence of happiness on the ability to use stereotypes in regard to social judgment was examined on the basis of four experiments. The results of each experiment showed that the people who felt happy tended to rendered more stereotypic judgments compared to the ones in a neutral mood. The 1st experiment investigated the given phenomenon using mood induction procedure that required recalling specific life experiences. In the course of the 2nd and 3rd experiments the suggestion was made that greater reliance on stereotypes in the judgments among happy people was not connected to cognitive capacity deficits caused by the intrusive positive thoughts, as well as by energetic arousal or cognitively disruptive excitement that may be connected to the experience of happiness. The last, 4th experiment, also showed that stereotypic judgments were more often rendered by happy individuals. The exception was the condition when they were told that they would have to bear responsibility for their judgments. Such results indicate that despite the fact that there is a tendency among happy people to engage in stereotypic thinking, they can easily avoid the influence of stereotypes in cases when situational factors are accompanied by a motivational impetus.
The current study suggests that the mood and the emotional state have a tremendous impact on the decision-making. Humans mood is formed by the emotions they feel at the moment. It is something that is experienced as a feeling, which motivates, organizes, and directs the perception, thinking, and decision-making. Traditionally, psychologists believed that a realistic way of thinking, which has the result of a correct reflection of reality, should be free of emotional processes, which tend to obscure and distort cognition. Such facts are true for intense emotions, regardless of their sign. However, the conclusion on the role of emotions in the decision-making regarding the certain issue cannot be reduced to a particular case. Under certain conditions, emotional state can be not only inhibitor but also the facilitator of mental activity and making the choice.
The study reveals that emotions affect cognitive processing of information. Such effect depends on both the sign of the emotions and the requirements for the activity. If the problem is connected with the attentiveness to details or thoroughness, the decision would benefit from negative sentiment. If the problem is formulated in terms of personal pleasure, the perception of attractiveness is more likely to provide positive-affect, which will help implement the corresponding solution.
In addition, study by Kuhn, Weinstock, & Flaton 1994 identifies that people select alternatives that seem to the best, but their definition of what is best is not always subordinated to reasonable criteria. People, who are forced to take account of refuting evidence, make better decisions. The study considers the most common mistakes associated with subjectivity made in decision-making process. The tendency to choose the information that corresponds to persons ideas is called the tendency to confirmation, or bias. All people have this tendency. A similar trend is very common and occurs in a variety of areas. For example, in the study, investigating of the jury is presented. It shows how decisions are made about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. It showed that jurors often construct a plausible story of what might have occurred at the crime scene, if they feel sympathy to the defendant. Then, among the information disclosed in the course of the investigation, they choose only what confirms their version. Thus, the jury’s decision is also largely dependent on the selection of evidence, which confirms perception of the jury themselves. Another example from real life presented in study is associated with making medical decisions. It is described by a case when a young doctor examines a patient. The patient complains of fever and sore throat. The doctor has to put one diagnosis of many possible. He decides that it is probably the flu. The doctor asks if the patient feels aches throughout the body and receives an affirmative answer. Further, the doctor asks if these symptoms appeared a few days ago and the patient agrees. It is already obvious that the doctor should ask questions that can refute a presumptive diagnosis. For example, ask about the symptoms which are usually not connected to influenza (rash, swollen joints, etc.)
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The Hypotheses and Statement of the Predictions
The study will examine whether a person’s mood may have an impact on their decision-making, i.e. imposition of personal judgments. The hypothesis is that attractiveness of the candidate in addition to the good mood of the employer results in the subjective bias in the process of hiring. The current study suggests that those employers that are in a positive mood hire the most candidates because they pay less attention to the details. At first glance, the results of experiments are perplexing. People in a bad mood are sometimes more prone to make positive decisions in order to achieve a feeling of satisfaction and internal self-gratification. Donors feel better due to the knowledge that donated blood can save lives. Students, who have helped raise the fallen paper, feel better due to the fact that they have assisted somebody. Thus, it could be suggested that when the employer feels a sense of guilt, sorrow or another negative mood, they would seek to neutralize negative emotions and hire the candidate. However, the study is suggested to reveal the opposite results. Such apparent contradiction is inspiring researcher to try to find the cause of such occurring. However, closer look at the problem reveals that there is certain regularity in the issue.
The participants that will be tested comprise of 20 single UT females from the age of 20-25.
A picture of the job candidate (man of 30 years) will be attached to the resume and cover letter. The picture of the man will have a rating attractiveness of 10 (meaning really attractive) (1-10). Within the methods of the study, the experiment is conducted, which is as follows. When the participants come in, they will be shown a funny video (good-positive mood) or an agitated video (bad-negative mood). Consequently, their mood will be set by the researchers in order to be sure what mood the participants are in.
Then after they are shown either funny or agitated video, participants will be given a resume and cover letter, along with a picture of a man with an attractiveness rating of 10.
Depending on the factor obtains by the most hired candidates, it can be inferred that either good or bad mood in connection with attractiveness had an effect on hiring decisions.
Most likely, the candidates in a positive mood hired the most candidates because they pay less attention to details.
The question arises, why do people choose to hire candidates being in a good mood?
The study suggests that only a small part of the decision-making processes is conscious. Moreover, it is influenced by the expressed effect of the mood, which is external to the consciousness of the person making the decision. A striking example of this is the emotional framing effect on decision-making processes. Depending on the mood in which a person deals with different issues, they can draw different conclusions and estimates. Emotions are seen as the most important factor regulating the hiring processes. They form a certain space, within which mental processes, including decision-making, occur.
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In addition, the given study is supposed to reveal that negative emotions in contrast to positive ones are able to reinforce an installation on the perception of details and facilitate their analysis. At the same time, positive emotions lead to neglect of details but increase the global orientation. The mood may influence the choice of the information processing strategy during hiring activity. It is expected that vigilance, which is a constant attention to the details, caused by a bad mood tend to reduce or even abolish such errors of judgment as the fundamental attribution error (tendency to attach greater importance to personal factors and ignore situational influence on people’s behavior interpretation).
When people need to make a quick judgment (for example, in hiring), they are forced to use a stereotyped response. Good mood and positive emotions contribute and often lead to the schematic, inconsistent, heuristic processing style. Perhaps the schematic perception of “unity” between the employer and the candidate, which leads to the fundamental attribution error, is boosted by the positive affect and reduced by negative. In a situation of an extramural interaction of employer and an attractive candidate using open and constructive strategies, positive mood leads to the creating of more positive perception and more confident, optimistic behavior. On the other hand, negative mood is connected to negative memories and promotes defensive behavior, as well as increased attentiveness to details.
The approach for solving the problem of hiring the candidate is largely determined by the prevailing mood in subjects. However, within the study, it is taken into account that the impact of emotional experiences on the process of mental activity and decision-making may not be so straightforward. The positive effect of the emotional process by increasing its intensity can have an opposite effect and lead to disruption of activity in the excessive strengthening of emotional arousal.
Moreover, the study is suggested to contribute to a point of view, which not only denies the motivating power of emotions but refines its origin, as well. It is supposed that not exactly good mood has the motivating function during the hiring process, but the needs behind it. Probably, the emotions depend on the needs and serve as an inner mirror of an individual.
Describing the mechanism of the emotional motivation of subjects in hiring, the study focused on the relationship of emotion and motivation. Generally, it is expected to reveal a certain systematic pattern in the experiment. It may be described as follows: the motivation encourages activities; stressors associated with the achievement of goals generate certain emotions; emotions affect the reticular formation, which provides the activation of brain structures, including implementing of decision-making processes. Based on this, the current study would not deny the role of emotions as a motivating factor. It will state that in hiring they have primary or , at least, secondary role.
It seems obvious that people choose alternatives that, for whatever reasons, evaluated positively. In assessing the advantages and disadvantages of various alternatives, the subjective experience may become crucial. People choose other people and perform actions they like and consider to be right. Consequently, the study will establish and make it intuitively clear that emotions are very important. Study of the effect of mood on the methods of decision-making will most likely show that candidates obtain employment and higher grades from interviewers, if prior to the interview, the interviewers were in a good mood and lower when the mood was bad. Without doubt, the emotions affect peoples thoughts. Therefore, it is important to consider how the mood can influence a decision-making process and how people themselves can affect the mood of those individuals who make decisions.
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