Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 355–371 | Cite as

Sad mood reduces inadvertent plagiarism: Effects of affective state on source monitoring in cryptomnesia

  • Amanda C. GingerichEmail author
  • Chad S. Dodson
Original Paper


In two experiments, we explored the influence of affective state, or mood, on inadvertent plagiarism, a memory failure in which individuals either misattribute the source of an idea to themselves rather than to the true originator or simply do not recall having encountered the idea before and claim it as novel. Using a paradigm in which participants generate word puzzle solutions and later recall these solutions, we created an opportunity for participants to mistakenly claim ownership of items that were, in fact, initially generated by their computer ‘partner.’ Results of both experiments suggest that participants induced into a sad mood before solving the word puzzles made fewer source memory errors than did those induced into a happy mood. Results of Experiment 2 also imply that sad mood reduces some item memory errors. Implications for appraisal theories, such as the affect-as-information hypothesis, are discussed.


Mood False memory Cryptomnesia Inadvertent plagiarism Source monitoring 



This research was partially supported by a Dissertation Research Award from the American Psychological Association to the first author. Portions of this research were reported at the 21st Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA, the 116th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA, and the 115th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA. We thank Marina Bullock, Kelsey Carlson, Caroline Coronado, Cari Day, Laura Higginbotham, Julie Kenney, Amna Khokar, Amanda Miller, Michael Patrizio, Richa Pradhan, Sophia Ra, Adrienne Saltz, Caitlin Santucci, Erin Sullivan, and Memona Tazamal for their assistance in conducting this research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyButler UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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