Mood and persuasion: Evidence for the differential influence of positive and negative states



This article investigated how moods influence reactions to a persuasive communication. Subjects read a magazine article designed to induce a positive, neutral, or negative state, then read and evaluated a communication for which argument quality varied. As in previous research (Worth & Mackie, 1987), argument quality failed to differentially influence attitudes for positive subjects. In contrast, attitudes were more favorable following stronger arguments for neutral and negative subjects. These findings suggest that systematic processing is reduced by positive, but not by negative moods. Discussion focuses on the processes underlying observed relationships, and on selective processing of communications as a means of mood management.