Emotional mood states and retrieval in episodic memory

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1985 Apr;11(2):363-70. doi: 10.1037//0278-7393.11.2.363.


The effect of an experimentally induced depressed mood state on recall of target words embedded in sentences was examined. The objective was to determine if the induction of a depressed mood can affect output or retrieval from episodic memory. The experimental sequence was as follows: All subjects studied a list of either elaborated or base sentences, rating them for complexity, in an incidental retention paradigm; this was followed by the induction of a depressed or neutral (control) mood, using a standard and a short form of the Velten mood induction procedure; finally, subjects were given an unanticipated cued recall test of the target adjectives. In all tests, subjects showed a reduction in recall owing to the depressed mood, which provided evidence for retrieval effects of the mood state. Elaboration led to superior recall of target items, and there was no effect of delayed recall. The results are briefly discussed within the framework of a resource allocation theory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cues
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall