Psychology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



J Exp Psychol Gen. 2023 June ; 152(6): 1690–1704. doi:10.1037/xge0001351.


HHS Public Access


Negative interpretation bias, the tendency to appraise ambiguous stimuli as threatening, shapes our emotional lives. Various laboratory tasks, which differ in stimuli features and task procedures, can quantify negative interpretation bias. However, it is unknown whether these tasks globally predict individual differences in real-world negative (NA) and positive (PA) affect. Across two studies, we tested whether different lab-based negative interpretation bias tasks predict daily NA and PA, measured via mobile phone across months. To quantify negative interpretation bias, Study 1 (N = 69) used a verbal, self-referential task whereas Study 2 (N = 110) used a perceptual, emotional image task with faces and scenes. Across tasks, negative interpretation bias was linked to heightened daily NA. However, only negative interpretation bias in response to ambiguous faces was related to decreased daily PA. These results illustrate the ecological validity of negative interpretation bias tasks and highlight converging and unique relationships between distinct tasks and naturalistic emotion.

Included in

Psychology Commons