Using an Extrinsic Affective Simon Task (EAST), we provide the first-ever systematic examination of the role of affective states (negative and positive affectivity, depression, anxiety) and personality traits (alexithymia, optimism) in automatic evaluation effects. Results revealed that the EAST effect was negatively associated with depressive mood even if others affective states and traits were simultaneously entered in a regression model. These findings could reflect a preference for a systematic information processing style elicited during sadness. More generally, the present findings suggest that implicit attitudes measures that capitalise on automatic evaluation effects may lack validity when measuring attitudes of individuals who have negative emotional states. Individual measures relating to affective differences may thus contribute to better predicting the implicit attitude-behaviour link. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.