There are established effects of self- and reward-biases even on simple perceptual matching tasks [Sui, J., He, X., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Perceptual effects of social salience: Evidence from self-prioritization effects on perceptual matching. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Human Perception and Performance, 38, 1105–1117]; however we know little about whether these biases can be modulated by particular interventions, and whether the biases then change in the same way. Here we assessed how the biases alter under conditions designed to induce negative mood. We had participants read a list of self-related negative or neutral mood statements [Velten, E. (1968). A laboratory task for induction of mood states. Behavior Research and Therapy, 6, 473–482] and also listen for 10 min to a passage of negative or neutral music, prior to carrying out perceptual matching with shapes associated to personal labels (self or stranger) or reward (£12 or £1). Responses to the self- and high-reward-associated shapes were selectively slower and less sensitive (d′) following the negative mood induction procedures, and the decrease in mood correlated with decreases in the reaction time bias across “high saliency” (self and high-reward) stimuli. We suggest that negative mood may decrease self- and reward-biases through reducing attention to salient external stimuli.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/J001597/1, UK]; The Wellcome Trust [grant number WT106164MA]; and the European Research Council [grant number Pepe Grant 323883].
- negative mood
- associative learning