Mood and the impact of category membership and individuating information

Examined how 419 college students in different mood states are influenced by category membership information, individuating information, and the relation of the two in an impression formation task. In 4 experiments, Ss in different mood states received positive or negative individuating and category information about a target person. Sad Ss were influenced by individuating information. In contrast, happy Ss' judgments reflected the implications of the category information as long as the individuating information was not inconsistent with the category. This pattern was eliminated when category-inconsistent information was provided, suggesting that happy Ss relate the individuating information to the category membership information. Instructing neutral mood Ss to relate category and individuating information or to focus on the individuating information resulted in patterns parallel with the judgements of happy and sad Ss, respectively. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)