Mood dependent memory for events of the personal past

J Exp Psychol Gen. 1994 Jun;123(2):201-15. doi: 10.1037//0096-3445.123.2.201.


Previous research on mood dependent memory (MDM) suggests that the more one must rely on internal resources, rather than on external aids, to generate both the target events and the cues required for their retrieval, the more likely is one's memory for these events to be mood dependent. To instantiate this "do-it-yourself" principle, three experiments were conducted in which Ss experiencing either a pleasant or an unpleasant mood generated autobiographical events in response to neutral nouns. Subsequently, Ss were tested for event free recall while in the same or the alternative mood state. All three studies showed MDM, such that the likelihood of recalling an event generated 2 or 3 days ago was higher when generation and recall moods matched than when they mismatched. Prospects for future research aimed at elucidating and extending these results are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Arousal*
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Retention, Psychology