INFLUENCES ON MOOD
Our mood is influenced by an incredible variety of factors, including ongoing events and experiences, the environmental milieu in which we find ourselves, our current physical state—and much, much more. This chapter discusses many of these variables. Specifically, it examines the influence of short-term exogenous factors on mood. By [exogenous,] I mean situational factors, current life events, and environmental variables that are external to the experiencing organism (in Chapter 4,I consider internal endogenous processes). The relevant literature is huge and cannot possibly be summarized in a single chapter. Consequently, I only highlight some of the most important findings that have emerged in the recent mood literature, making particular use of the extensive within-subject data my colleagues and I have collected.
Before reviewing the evidence, I must emphasize two general points that will help readers to organize and interpret the findings that follow. First, the research literature suggests that people actually are rather poor at identifying the specific factors that influence their mood. Put another way, recent evidence has established some important disjunctions between our beliefs and our actual affective experience. In this chapter, we see some outstanding examples of such disjunctions.