Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 21, Iss. 4, October, 2017, pp. 505-518
@2017 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


The Extended Trust Hypothesis: Single-Attractor Self-Contagion in Day-to-Day Changes in Implicit Positive Affect Predicts Action-Oriented Coping and Psychological Symptoms

Julius Kuhl, University of Osnabrück, Germany
Olga Mitina, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Sander L. Koole, Free University of Amsterdam. The Netherlands

Abstract: According to the extended trust hypothesis, the ability to cope with negative experiences is grounded in intuitive positive feelings about one’s existence (Kuhl, Quirin, & Koole, 2015). In the present study, the authors empirically tested this hypothesis by examining the nonlinear dynamics in a series of day-to-day autoregressive functions of affective states taken from a 30-day daily mood diary study among 40 participants. A parameter (?) related to the asymptotic level of day-to-day changes in implicit positive mood predicted action orientation, a personality variable that relates to coping with negative affect, and psychological symptoms. This effect did not emerge when using a similar parameter l for self-reported positive affect or any linear characteristic (mean or standard deviation) of changes in positive or negative mood. These findings are considered within the broader framework of Personality Systems Interaction theory (PSI theory) that interprets l, under specified conditions, as a form of basic trust that enables people to confront negative affect and permit self-growth through self-confrontational rather than defensive coping.

Keywords: mood diary, implicit affect, self-confrontational coping, action orientation, emotional regulation, mental health