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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1987 Jan;52(1):91-9.

Emotional states and memory biases: effects of cognitive priming and mood.


Recent studies have shown that naturally occurring and experimentally induced affect states enhance the accessibility to retrieval of memories of life experiences that are congruent in valence with the affect state. Previous studies have suggested that this memory bias results from the influence of affective processes on memory retrieval. In our study we manipulated mood state by having subjects read statements expressing positive or negative self-evaluative ideas or describing somatic states that often accompany positive or negative mood states. The somatic and self-evaluative statements had, in general, equally strong effects on mood state. In spite of this, however, the self-evaluative statements had a stronger impact on recall latencies for life experiences than did the somatic statements. Moreover, the impact of the self-evaluative, but not the somatic, statements on recall was found to be independent of the statements' effects on mood state. This suggests that the cognitions accompanying a mood-altering experience may have a substantial effect on the capacity of the mood state to influence memory retrieval.

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