Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 309–331 | Cite as

What do you do when you're happy or blue? Mood, expectancies, and behavioral interest

  • Michael R. Cunningham


The effects of induced moods on interest in performing a wide spectrum of behaviors were examined in two experiments. In Experiment 1, subjects who received the Velten Mood Induction elation manipulation indicated significantly greater interest than neutral subjects in social, prosocial, strenuous, leisure, and general activities on a shortened version of the Pleasant Events Schedule. Subjects who received the depression induction indicated lower interest in social, leisure, and strenuous activities. Depressed mood was associated with an interest in sitting and thinking, being alone, and taking a nap, but depression produced no increase in interest in prosocial behavior or in 12 forms of self-gratification. Experiment 2 focused on seven potential mediators in the effects of mood on behavior interests. Following a positive, negative, or neutral mood induction, subjects were asked to record their positive and negative outcome expectancies, positive and negative emotion expectancies, and their self-perceptions of energy, ability, and opportunity for active and passive, social and nonsocial behaviors. Induced elation, depression, and neutral moods again were found to influence interest in both active and passive types of social and nonsocial behaviors. The subjects' expectations of positive outcomes, and to a lesser extent their perceived energy for the behavior, were the strongest mediators of the effect of mood on behavior interests.


Negative Emotion Depressed Mood Prosocial Behavior Lower Interest Mood Induction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Cunningham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LouisvilleLouisville

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