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Effect of mood on creativity

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Principal Investigator(s):

Chu Kim-Prieto
The College of New Jersey
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Ed Diener
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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Sample size: 295
Field period: 5/24/2005 - 6/6/2005



A large and robust body of work documents with compelling evidence positive affect's marked and varied influence on behavior. The effect of positive mood on cognition and behavior are complex, and several theories explain the mechanisms that underlie the phenomenon, especially in the cognitive domain. In her review, Isen (1999) suggests that positive affect might cue positive memory material, which may be encoded in a more diverse and complex manner than negative affect material. Forgas (2002), on the other hand, has suggests that positive mood states trigger a top-down information processing strategy. Clore, Gasper, and Garvin (2001) suggest an affect-as-information model, in which feelings are used as a feedback mechanism for social-cognitive processes. We offer another alternative to the current theories on the influence of mood on behaviors.


White Americans and Asian Americans will differ in creativity depending on mood.

Experimental Manipulation:

Happy vs. Sad mood

Key Dependent Variables:


Additional Information:

The study design is a 2 x 2, mood (positive, negative) by ethnicity (White, Asian) design. We manipulated mood by randomly assigning participants to two mood conditions, positive and negative. Culture was not manipulated. Creativity was measured by using Isen, Johnson, Mertz and Robinson's (1985, Study 1) method of counting the unusualness of word associations. In this measure, participants are presented with a common word that is neutral in affective valence, then asked to type in the first word that comes to mind. Following the word presentation, the manipulation check asked participants to rate unfamiliar words and complete measures on emotion and demographics.

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