You are what I feel: A test of the affective realism hypothesis.

We present evidence for the affective realism hypothesis, that incidental affect is a key ingredient in an individual’s experience of the world. In three studies, we used an interocular suppression technique (continuous flash suppression [CFS]) to present smiling, scowling, or neutral faces suppressed from conscious visual awareness while consciously perceived neutral faces were presented at three different timing intervals: 150 ms before, 150 ms after, and concurrent with the suppressed affective faces (Studies 1 and 3) or at timing intervals of 100 ms (Study 2). Results for all three studies revealed that consciously perceived neutral faces were experienced significantly more positively (e.g., as more trustworthy) when concurrently paired with suppressed smiling faces than when concurrently paired with suppressed scowling faces; there was no effect of suppressed affective faces on first impressions in the other timing conditions. This pattern of results is consistent with the affective realism hypothesis but inconsistent with both affective misattribution and affective priming interpretations. Incidental affect must be meaningfully contiguous in time with the target stimulus to be experienced as a property of the target. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)