The limits of mood congruence: Can mood congruent recall be shown with an uninstructed mood induction?

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Paul H. Blaney - Committee Chair


To clarify the limits of the well-documented and diagnostically significant phenomena of mood congruent recall, an uninstructed musical mood induction technique was used in the induction of mildly depressive and elated moods among normal college students. A control condition was also included. Gender and private self-consciousness functioned as independent variables, along with induction condition. Memory biases were measured by subjective pleasantness ratings of the memories retrieved in response to a series of neutral stimulus words.Although the mildly depressed and elated moods were successfully induced, as assessed by pre- and post-manipulation MAACL depression score changes, there were no apparent memory biases. When the sample was reduced to only those subjects who manifested strong mood induction effects, there were still no memory biases evidenced. The only indication of mood congruent recall was indirect, secondary to "depth" of post-manipulation MAACL depression scores. At the highest levels of post-manipulation depression, low self-consciousness appeared to promote mood incongruent memory ratings. In the same range of post-manipulation depression, the memory ratings of highly self-conscious subjects were more negative, or mood congruent.It is suggested that mood-based memory biases may require a threshold mood. In addition, mood simulation instructions may be needed to prime or prompt strong or overall mood congruent recall in depression analogue studies.


Psychology, General

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