Effects of mood and affect on recall of positive and negative information about the self
Drawing on evidence obtained from previous research on the relationship between mood and self-perception, this study attempted to ascertain whether subjects' moods and their affective evaluations of positive and negative information about themselves would influence their recall of that information. Mood states are thought to act as a selective filter, admitting information that supports the mood and biasing the processing of information about the self in a mood-congruous manner. It has also been suggested that the greater the intensity of the affect associated with information, the greater the memory for that information. It was expected that subjects in elated moods might recall more information about themselves that they rated intensely positive and that subjects in depressed moods might recall more information they rated intensely negative. Two hundred and twelve college freshmen took a personality inventory prior to the experiment. The subjects initially rated their moods on a modification of the Wessman and Ricks Elation vs. Depression Scale and were then given a list of five positive and five negative personality trait adjectives to read. The adjectives were descriptive of the subjects' personalities and were selected based on their quality and affective intensity as evaluated by judges of the same personality types as the subjects. After a short interpolated activity, subjects were given an incidental test of memory, and then rated their traits on a 7-point bipolar scale from extremely positive to extremely negative. The relationship of mood, affect, and memory was examined. A multiple regression analysis indicated that affect, but not mood, predicted recall. The more positively subjects felt about their personality traits, the more likely they were to recall positive trait adjectives. The more negatively subjects felt about their personality traits, the more likely they were to recall negative trait adjectives. There was a curvilinear relationship between affect and overall performance. Positive affect was associated with greater recall up to a point. In addition, for both positive and negative adjectives, those recalled were given more intense ratings than those non-recalled. Recommendations were made for future studies exploring the impact of affect and person variables on cognitive processes.
Projansky, Dolores Elizabeth, "Effects of mood and affect on recall of positive and negative information about the self" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007190.