Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Amishi P. Jha

Second Committee Member

Heather A. Henderson

Third Committee Member

Clinton B. Wright


The current study aimed to determine the effect of both negative and positive mood on working memory (WM). Using a sample of undergraduates (N = 104), we investigated three specific topics: 1) if differences in trait affect and induced mood revealed specific impairments in WM; 2) the interplay between trait affect, induced mood, and dynamic adjustments in cognitive control; 3) the impact of baseline WM capacity on emotion manipulation and subsequent task performance. Participants completed one of three (Positive, Neutral, or Negative) 10-minute mood induction phases prior to a WM delayed-recognition task. Demand levels (high vs. low) of WM maintenance (memory load of 2 items vs. 1 item) and delay-spanning distractor interference (confusable vs. not confusable with memoranda) were manipulated using a factorial design during the task. The effect of positive mood on overall performance demonstrated an interaction between trait positive affect (PA) and induced mood. The interaction indicated that individuals with high (vs. low) trait PA performed worse when induced into a Happy mood and performed better than individuals with low PA when induced into a Sad mood. Also, trait PA was associated with decreased interference effects across all mood conditions. The effect of negative affect on WM performance was specific to the Neutral mood condition, and was associated with increased interference demand effects. Previous trial-based analyses indicated that both positive and negative affect do not significantly moderate WM demand-triggered dynamic adjustments in cognitive control. Finally, WMC did not significantly predict either change in emotion during the mood induction procedure, or level of performance on the delayed-recognition task.


Cognitive Control; Negative Affect; Positive Affect; Working Memory