Mood as a Resource in Processing Self-Relevant Information

Authored by: Yaacov Trope , Melissa Ferguson , Raj Raghunathan

Handbook of Affect and Social Cognition

Print publication date:  November  2000
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805832174
eBook ISBN: 9781410606181
Adobe ISBN: 9781135670061


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The present chapter examines the role of mood in determining how people seek and process information about themselves. We argue that positive mood may serve as a resource for achieving accurate self-assessment or as a goal in and of itself. As a resource, positive mood leads people to seek and process positive as well as negative information about themselves. As a goal, positive mood leads people to focus on positive information about themselves. Whether positive mood serves as a resource or as a goal depends on the value of the information. When the information is highly diagnostic of an important self-attribute, mood serves as a resource, but when the information is of low diagnostic value or when it pertains to an unimportant self-attribute, positive mood serves as a goal. We describe a series of studies designed to test these ideas. These studies demonstrate that positive mood leads people to seek negative self-relevant feedback when this feedback has high informational value, but not when the feedback has low informational value. The first set of studies examines search of ability-related information, whereas the second set of studies examines processing of health-related information.

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