Two experiments involving 99 undergraduate participants sought to examine the influence of mood states on encoding speed within lexical decision and pronunciation tasks. Mood states were measured naturalistically in Experiment 1 and manipulated in Experiment 2. Stimuli consisted of nouns representing useful (e.g., food) and nonuseful (e.g., lint) objects. Mood states had no implications for initial encoding speed. However, when the same words were presented a 2nd time (i.e., repeated), happy individuals displayed a tendency to encode useful words faster than nonuseful ones. Thus, mood states influenced repetition priming on the basis of stimulus valence. The authors propose that happiness sensitizes individuals to useful or rewarding objects, which in turn creates a stronger memory trace for such stimuli in the future.
- lexical decision
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