World-focused affect

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Chapter 4 endnote 43, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

Scientists in Israel found that judges were significantly more likely to deny parole to a prisoner if the hearing was just before lunchtime.

Philosophers call this phenomenon “world-focused” affect.[1]

A simple quiz

In each set of statements, identify which ones represent world-focused affect.

Statement set A:

  1. That guy who cut me off is an asshole!
  2. I am furious with that guy who cut me off!
  3. I am furious with that asshole who cut me off!

Statement set B:

  1. I like that song.
  2. That song sounds magnificent.

Statement set C:

  1. Chocolate is the best!
  2. Chocolate is delicious.
  3. Chocolate is one of my favorite things.
  4. I enjoy a good piece of chocolate.


  • Set A: Statements 1 and 3. Number 3 is both self-focused ("I am furious") and world-focused ("that asshole").
  • Set B: Statement 2.
  • Set C: Statements 1, 2, and 4. Statement 4 is both self-focused ("I enjoy") and world-focused ("a good piece").


For a recent criticism of the Danziger et al (2011) paper on judges, see these references.[2][3]

Notes on the Notes

  1. Lambie, John A., and Anthony J. Marcel. 2002. "Consciousness and the varieties of emotion experience: a theoretical framework." Psychological Review 109 (2): 219-259.
  2. Stafford, Tom. 2016. "Rational Judges, Not Extraneous Factors in Decisions." Mind Hacks, December 8.
  3. Glöckner, Andreas. 2016. "The irrational hungry judge effect revisited: Simulations reveal that the magnitude of the effect is overestimated." Judgment and Decision Making 11 (6): 601-610