Mood, misattribution, and judgments of well-being: Informative and directive functions of affective states

Investigated, in 2 experiments, whether judgments of happiness and satisfaction with one's life are influenced by mood at the time of judgment. In Exp I, moods were induced by asking 61 undergraduates for vivid descriptions of a recent happy or sad event in their lives. In Exp II, moods were induced by interviewing 84 participants on sunny or rainy days. In both experiments, Ss reported more happiness and satisfaction with their life as a whole when in a good mood than when in a bad mood. However, the negative impact of bad moods was eliminated when Ss were induced to attribute their present feelings to transient external sources irrelevant to the evaluation of their lives; but Ss who were in a good mood were not affected by misattribution manipulations. The data suggest that (a) people use their momentary affective states in making judgments of how happy and satisfied they are with their lives in general and (b) people in unpleasant affective states are more likely to search for and use information to explain their state than are people in pleasant affective states. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)