Individuals in sad moods process information in a less global and more local manner than do those in happier moods. This experiment investigates whether processing speed is associated with these mood effects, whether task ambiguity moderates these mood effects, and whether making feelings appear irrelevant to the task can eliminate these mood effects. Participants in happy, sad, and neutral moods were lead to experience their feelings as being either relevant or irrelevant to a global/local processing task. As predicted, sad moods decreased global processing relative to happier moods when feelings seemed relevant to the task and when the criteria for responding were ambiguous, but not when feelings seemed irrelevant or when the criteria were unambiguous. Consistent with the idea that mood guides processing, increases in affect intensity were associated with faster reaction times. Overall, the results suggest that mood and processing effects share some core similarities with mood and judgement effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)