Trait congruence in the study of the cognitive consequences of emotional arousal

Authors


Abstract

This study investigated the possible influence of mood and emotional vulnerability on recall. Mood was induced by projecting highly emotionally laden slides. In the first experiment, 64 female subjects, rated low or high on emotional vulnerability, were tested on recall of mood-congruent, mood-incongruent and neutral words, under mood induction and non-mood induction conditions. Emotionally low-vulnerable subjects recalled more mood-congruent than mood-incongruent words in the mood induction condition, whereas the opposite was the case in the non-mood induction condition. Highly vulnerable subjects recalled more mood-congruent than mood-incongruent words in the non-mood induction condition and fewer mood-congruent words in the mood induction compared with non-mood induction condition. The results are discussed in terms of ‘mood congruence’ (to explain low-vulnerable (LV) subjects' performance) and in terms of ‘trait congruence’ (to explain highly-vulnerable (HV) subjects' performance). In a second experiment, which investigated LV and HV subjects' galvanic skin responses to highly- and low-emotionally laden slides, the highest values were those for HV subjects when exposed to emotional slides. The different activation of LV and HV subjects led us to reconsider previous reasoning regarding mood congruence and trait congruence in the light of the inverted U theory.

Ancillary