POG (Positive Generalization)

The POG was devised to assess the tendency to generalize from one positive experience to the broader sense of self. It was modeled on the negative generalization scale of the ATS, which assesses the tendency to generalize in the opposite direction. In creating the POG we addressed three different aspects of positive generalization: Lateral generalization is the tendency to generalize to a different domain of self; Upward generalization is the tendency to generalize to higher aspects of the self; Social generalization is upward generalization in the social sphere.

The POG was first used in a study reported by Eisner et al. (see below); it was slightly revised and used in another study reported by Carver and Johnson (see below). In both cases, we found that tendencies toward mania were related to greater positive generalization and that tendencies toward depression were related to greater negative generalization, but there was no crossover of generalization type to disorder tendency.

Carver, C. S., & Johnson, S. L. (2009). Tendencies toward mania and tendencies toward depression have distinct motivational, affective, and cognitive correlates. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33, 552-569.   [abstract]

Eisner, L. R., Johnson, S. L., & Carver, C. S. (2008). Cognitive responses to failure and success relate uniquely to bipolar depression versus mania. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 154-163. [abstract]

Here is how we administer the POG, followed by scoring instructions:

    1 = I agree a LOT
    2 = I agree a LITTLE
    3 = I neither agree nor disagree
    4 = I DISagree a LITTLE
    5 = I DISagree a LOT

1. If I succeed at something, it makes me feel I will succeed in other areas as well.
2. If someone praises the way I express something, it makes me think I can write a popular book.
3. When I succeed at something, it makes me think about the successes in other areas of my life.
4. When people agree with me after I speak up in a group, it makes me think I could be elected to public office.
5. When an attractive person smiles at me, I can tell it means s/he is hot for me.
6. When something good happens to me, it makes me expect good things in other parts of my life too.
7. When people laugh at my jokes, it makes me think I could be a good talk-show host.
8. Having one thing go right for me can change me from feeling just OK to seeing all the good in myself.
9. When someone compliments me about something I've said, it makes me think about impressing lots of other people.
10. All it takes is one look from someone and I know that person is falling for me.
11. When one thing goes right, it makes me feel my possibilities are limitless.
12. When I have a small financial success, it makes me believe I could become a millionaire.
13. After one date goes well, it makes me think that person will be in love with me forever.
14. When I made my first friend in this town, I knew I was destined to be a big success socially.
15. When someone praises me for my efforts in a club or organization, it makes me think of being the head of the organization.
16. Having a single success makes me think of other successes.


Lateral generalization = items 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, and 16
Upward generalization = items 2, 4, 7, 9, and 15
Social generalization = items 5, 10, 12, 13, and 14

University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology