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Emotion. 2013 Aug;13(4):703-10. doi: 10.1037/a0031987. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Modeling the effect of mood on dimensional attention during categorization.

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Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Classification is a flexible process that can be affected by mood. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the idea that mood may modulate categorization behavior through an attentional weighting mechanism in which mood changes the attention afforded to different stimulus dimensions. In two experiments, participants learn and are tested on categories while in a calm or sad mood. In Experiment 1, sad participants are faster to learn one- and two-dimensional category structures, but show no advantage on a three-dimensional category structure. In Experiment 2, the generalized context model of categorization is used to measure dimensional weighting. The results suggest that sad participants have a narrower focus of attention, but that the narrowing tends to be on diagnostic dimensions.

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