Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 73–77

Positive mood is associated with the implicit use of distraction

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11031-010-9156-y

Cite this article as:
Biss, R.K., Hasher, L. & Thomas, R.C. Motiv Emot (2010) 34: 73. doi:10.1007/s11031-010-9156-y


Previous research demonstrates that individuals in a positive mood are differentially distracted by irrelevant information during an ongoing task (Rowe et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:383–388, 2007). The present study investigated whether susceptibility to distraction shown by individuals in a positive mood results in greater implicit memory for that distraction. Participants performed a similarity-judgment task on pictures that were superimposed with distracting words. When these previously distracting words could be used as solutions on a delayed implicit task administered several minutes later, performance was positively correlated with pleasantness of mood. Individuals in a positive mood are more likely than others to use previously irrelevant information to facilitate performance on a subsequent implicit task, a finding with implications for the relationship between positive mood and creativity.


Emotional statesPositive affectAttentionDistractionImplicit memory

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.The Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest CentreTorontoCanada