The Relationship Between Uncertainty and Affect

Anderson, Eric, C.
Carleton, R. Nicholas
Diefenbach, Michael
Han, Paul, K.J.
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Frontiers Media

Uncertainty and affect are fundamental and interrelated aspects of the human condition. Uncertainty is often associated with negative affect, but in some circumstances, it is associated with positive affect. In this article, we review different explanations for the varying relationship between uncertainty and affect. We identify “mental simulation” as a key process that links uncertainty to affective states. We suggest that people have a propensity to simulate negative outcomes, which result in a propensity toward negative affective responses to uncertainty. We also propose the existence of several important moderators of this process, including context and individual differences such as uncertainty tolerance, as well as emotion regulation strategies. Finally, we highlight important knowledge gaps and promising areas for future research, both empirical and conceptual, to further elucidate the relationship between uncertainty and affect.

Copyright © 2019 Anderson, Carleton, Diefenbach and Han. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. First published in Frontiers
uncertainty, affect, ncertainty tolerance, emotion, risk, simulation
Anderson, E., Carleton, R. N., Diefenbach, M., & Han, P. (2019). The Relationship Between Uncertainty and Affect. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1-17.