Experimental evidence for aspects of the broaden-and-build theory actually existed prior to the theory’s introduction to the academic world. Generally speaking, laboratory studies showed a causal effect of positive feelings on thought processes. Across a host of studies, Isen and her colleagues demonstrated a wide range of cognitive outcomes resulting from induced positive emotions, including patterns of unusual thought (Isen, Johnson, Mertz, & Robinson, 1985), flexible thinking (Isen & Daubman, 1984), creativity (Isen, Daubman, & Nowicki, 1987), and receptivity to new information (Estrada, Isen, & Young, 1997).
Vacharkulksemsuk, T. and Fredrickson, B.L. (2013), "Looking Back and Glimpsing Forward: The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions as Applied to Organizations", Bakker, A.B. (Ed.) Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology (Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 45-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2046-410X(2013)0000001005
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