Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 73–77 | Cite as

Positive mood is associated with the implicit use of distraction

  • Renée K. Biss
  • Lynn Hasher
  • Ruthann C. Thomas
Original Paper


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 states Positive affect Attention Distraction Implicit memory 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R37 AGO4306) and by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant (MOP89769). We thank Gillian Rowe for helpful advice on the design of this study.


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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

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