Mood and the Reliance on the Ease of Retrieval Heuristic

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Jul;85(1):20-32. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.1.20.


Four studies investigate the relationship between individuals' mood and their reliance on the ease retrieval heuristic. Happy participants were consistently more likely to rely on the ease of retrieval heuristic, whereas sad participants were more likely to rely on the activated content. Additional analyses indicate that this pattern is not due to a differential recall (Experiment 2) and that happy participants ceased to rely on the ease of retrieval when the diagnosticity of this information was called into question (Experiment 3). Experiment 4 shows that reliance on the ease of retrieval heuristic resulted in faster judgments than reliance on content, with the former but not the latter being a function of the amount of activated information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Attitude
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Random Allocation
  • Social Perception*
  • Visual Perception