, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 371-385

Information processing and feedback: Effects of mood and information favorability on the cognitive processing of personally relevant information

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Although the cognitive processing of personally relevant feedback appears to be an important clinical issue, previous research has generally not examined this process. The present study presented a theoretical framework for conceptualizing the cognitive processing of feedback and employed this framework to investigate the influence of mood and feedback favorability upon feedback processing. Generally, it was proposed that in order for feedback to be understood and assimilated it must be processed “deeply,” where depth refers to the amont of cognitive analysis that the feedback receives. Using both reaction time and feedback recall to examine depth of processing, results indicated that unfavorable feedback is processed deeply when individuals are primed by a prior negative mood experience. Prior priming by a positive mood experience did not appear to have similar processing effects upon favorable feedback. Implications of these results for psychotherapy were discussed.