Mood and Memory
Henry C. Ellis*andBrent A. Moore
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
Research on the relationship between mood and memory has rapidly developed over the past 20 years into a vigorous and active domain. Although prior to 1970 there were occasional studies of mood and memory, it was not an active area of research. This picture has changed dramatically since 1975 for a variety of reasons, one being the acceptance by many cognitive psychologists of the importance of affect in memory, which had been recognized earlier by clinical and social psychologists. Another factor was the development of experimental procedures which allow mood and memory to be studied in the laboratory as well as in clinical settings, and a third factor has been the development of theoretical frameworks that encompass both emotion and cognition, topics that had earlier seen a largely independent theoretical development.
The terms “affect”, “emotion” and “mood” are sometimes used interchangeably, although they do differ. We shall follow the convention suggested by Bower & Forgas (in press), in which “affect” is the more general term, encompassing both emotions and moods (Forgas, 1995). In contrast, “emotion” is regarded as having the properties of a reaction, sometimes an intense response to a specific stimulus. In turn, “mood” is regarded as a more subtle, longer-lasting and less intense experience and tends to be more general or non-specific.
This chapter addresses four topics in the domain of mood-memory research: (a) mood-congruent memory; (b) mood-dependent memory; (c) theoretical issues and approaches to mood and memory; and (d) mood-related impairments in memory for neutral material. These topics represent four important as well as substantive areas of work. Our review of mood-congruent memory indicates that
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.