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Mood Memory

 

Explanations > Theories > Mood Memory

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

When we encode a memory, we not only record the visual and other sensory data, we also store our mood and emotional state. Our present mood thus will affect the memories that are most easily available to us, such that when we are in a good mood we recall good memories (and vice versa). The associative nature of memory also means that we tend to store happy memories in a linked set. 

Mood-congruent memory occurs where current mood helps recall of mood-congruent material, regardless of our mood at the time the material was stored. Thus when we are happy, we are more likely to remember happy events.

Mood-dependent memory occurs where the congruence of current mood with the mood at the time of memory storage helps recall of that memory. When we are happy, we are more likely to remember other times when we were happy. 

Research

Eich and his associates got people into good or bad moods, gave them neutral words and asked them what past memories came to mind. The memories recalled often had associated moods similar to those that had been induced.

Example

I like going to the movies. I'm feeling good this evening. I know--I'll go to the movies! 

I'm depressed. My whole life seems a misery.

So what?

Find people's current moods by asking about neutral things. Accentuate their current mood and demonstrate how good they can feel by eliciting things from the past.

If you want to remember something, get into the mood you were in when you experienced it.

See also

Availability Heuristic, Mood-Congruent Judgment, Network Theory, Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

http://pmc.psych.nwu.edu/revelle/publications/rl91/rev_loft.implicat.html

References

Blaney (1986), Eich, Macauley and Ryan (1994)

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