3 Affective Influences on Cognition

Mood Congruence, Mood Dependence, and Mood Effects on Processing Strategies

Experimental Psychology


  1. Joseph P. Forgas DSc1,
  2. Eric Eich PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop204003

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Forgas, J. P. and Eich, E. 2012. Affective Influences on Cognition . Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 4:I:3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of New South Wales, School of Psychology, Sydney, Australia

  2. 2

    University of British Columbia, Department of Psychology, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


How does affect or mood influence the way people think, remember, and deal with information? Understanding the delicate interplay between feeling and thinking, affect and cognition has for long remained one of the greatest puzzles about human nature. In this chapter we review extensive research documenting the multiple roles that affect plays in influencing both the content and the process of cognition. After a brief introduction reviewing early evidence and theories exploring the links between affect and cognition, the chapter is divided into three major parts. First, we review theories and empirical evidence documenting the importance of mood congruence in the content of thinking, including studies showing that affects or moods, such as happiness and sadness, may selectively prime or be directly used as information in constructive cognitive tasks. Next, we look at mood dependence, research showing that information encountered in a particular mood state is more likely to be recalled and used when the same state reoccurs. Finally, we discuss the processing effects of moods, including recent empirical studies showing that affects influence the quality of information processing. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and applied implications of this research, and the future prospects for this line of inquiry are considered.


  • affect;
  • cognition;
  • affect congruence;
  • affect dependence;
  • affect and processing strategies