Depending on my mood: Mood-driven influences on text comprehension

Catherine M. Bohn-Gettler*, David N. Rapp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Reading comprehension is a critical component of success in educational settings. To date, research on text processing in educational and cognitive psychological domains has focused predominantly on cognitive influences on comprehension and, in particular, those influences that might be derived from particular tasks or strategies. However, there is growing interest in documenting the influences of emotional factors on the processes and products of text comprehension, because these factors are less likely to be associated with explicit reading strategies. The present study examines this issue by evaluating the degree to which mood can influence readers' processing of text. Participants in control, happy-induced, or sad-induced groups thought aloud while reading expository texts. Happy, sad, and neutral moods influenced the degree to which readers engaged in particular types of coherence-building processes in the service of comprehension. Although reading strategies clearly influence processing, understudied factors that are less explicitly goal-driven, such as mood, can similarly impact comprehension activity. These findings have important implications for the role of mood on reading instruction and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-577
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • Comprehension
  • Induction
  • Inferences
  • Mood
  • Reading
  • Think aloud

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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