Effect of induced mood on memory for flavors.

Research paper by P P Pliner, C C Steverango

Indexed on: 01 Apr '94Published on: 01 Apr '94Published in: Appetite


Previous studies have found that subjects are better able to recall verbal material which is affectively congruent (rather than incongruent) with their moods at the time of encoding. The present study was designed to determine whether a similar mood congruency effect would occur using flavors as memory stimuli. Male and female subjects received a positive, neutral or negative mood induction, tasted four palatable and four unpalatable flavors, and then, following a delay, were tested on their recognition memory for the flavors. The results showed a highly significant mood congruency effect; subjects who had received a negative mood induction correctly identified (as old vs. new) more of the unpalatable flavors while the reverse was true for subjects who had received a positive mood induction. In addition, the mood congruency effect was greater for male than for female subjects. The results are discussed in terms of differences between chemical stimuli and the verbal/visual stimuli most frequently used in memory research. Finally, it is suggested that the results may not be relevant to the way(s) in which animals remember chemical stimuli in more naturalistic environments.