Effects of induced and naturalistic mood on the temporal allocation of attention to emotional information.Cogn Emot. 2014; 28(6):993-1011.CE
Building upon recent findings that affective states can influence the allocation of spatial attention, we investigate how state, trait and induced mood are related to the temporal allocation of attention to emotional information. In the present study, 125 unscreened undergraduates completed a modified rapid serial visual presentation task designed to assess the time course of attention to positive and negative information, comparing a neutral baseline mood induction to either a positive or negative mood induction. Induced negative mood facilitated attentional engagement to positive information while decreasing attentional engagement to negative information. Greater naturally occurring negative state mood was associated with faster or more efficient disengagement of attention from negative information in the presence of manipulated negative mood, relative to baseline. The engagement findings were inconsistent with our mood-congruence hypotheses and may be better explained by mood repair or affective counter-regulation theories. In contrast, the disengagement findings for state mood were somewhat consistent with our mood-congruence hypotheses. The relationship between mood and attention to emotional information may differ depending on the combination of attentional mechanism (engagement versus disengagement), aspect of mood (state, trait or induced), stimulus valence (positive versus negative) and timescale (early versus late) under investigation.