Effects of Emotional Mood States in Recognizing Places: Disentangling Conscious and Unconscious Retrieval

Document Type


Publication Date



The effects of emotional mood states on remembering scenes along a route of travel were examined in two experiments. For Experiment 1, 48 participants were exposed to a route of travel following a sad, happy, or neutral mood-induction procedure. Process dissociation (Jacoby, 1991) was used to derive separate estimates of the relative roles of conscious recollection and sense of familiarity (unconscious retrieval) in recognizing scenes. Conscious recollection, but not familiarity, was adversely affected by being in an emotional mood state during exposure. For Experiment 2, 24 participants given neutral mood induction were divided according to self-reports of induced mood. Participants in the sad mood group selected more old frames such as "looking sad" in a later test of implicit memory (unconscious retrieval) than did those in the happy mood group. These results reinforced that researchers must address diverse memory processes to understand the role of emotional mood states in spatial cognition.