Consequences of Thought Speed

Kaite Yang, Emily Pronin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The speed of thinking is a frequently overlooked aspect of mental life. However, the pace of thought is an essential property of thinking, and its consequences have recently begun to be discovered. In this chapter, we review the psychological consequences of accelerated and decelerated thought pace. We begin by examining how the manipulation of thought speed alters mood, self-perception, risk-taking, creativity, and arousal. We highlight the energizing, activating, and hedonic effects of fast thinking, and we show how thought-speed effects are independent of thought content, fluency, and goal progress. We describe an adaptive theory of thought speed wherein psychological responses to the acceleration of thinking confer adaptive advantages for confronting novel, urgent, and rapidly changing situations, and engaging in behaviors driven by appetitive motivation. Lastly, we discuss implications of thought speed and its manipulation for treatment of mental illness, for design and delivery of communications and messages, and for life in the age of rapid access and exposure to information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
EditorsJames M. Olson
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages56
ISBN (Print)9780128146897
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
ISSN (Print)0065-2601

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


  • Behavioral activation
  • Creativity
  • Emotion
  • Mania
  • Risk-taking
  • Thought speed


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