Cognitive involvement in the mood response system


There is currently common agreement that moods are organized responses that affect many psychological subsystems, including the cognitive subsystem. The pleasant versus unpleasant quality of an individual's mood was the dependent measure in this study, which examined cognitive correlates of mood level. A set of tasks hypothesized to change with mood, an adjective scale measuring present mood state, and four personality scales were administered to 194 students. Results indicate that three tasks—giving advice to others, estimating the probability of events, and subjective ratings of associations to words—are correlated with mood state and mood-related traits (e.g., emotional distress). Because of the measurement of mood along a pleasant-unpleasant continuum, the present findings of cognitive change can be generalized to any mood that is mostly pleasant or unpleasant. Results also indicate that individuals low in neuroticism had greater correspondence between self-reported mood and performance on affect-sensitive tasks. The changes in cognition are discussed in the context of a spreading-activation view of mood effects and a depressive-schema theory of information processing. More generally, the results suggest that moods lead to broad influences on cognitive responses over considerable portions of an individual's life-span.



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Motivation and Emotion



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