In two experiments (161 participants in total), we investigated how current mood
influences processing styles (global vs. local). Participants watched a video of
a bank robbery before receiving a positive, negative or neutral induction, and
they performed two tasks: a face-recognition task about the bank robber as
global processing measure, and a spot-the-difference task using neutral pictures
(Experiment-1) or emotional scenes (Experiment-2) as local processing measure.
Results showed that positive mood induction favoured a global processing style,
enhancing participants’ ability to correctly identify a face even
when they watched the video before the mood-induction. This shows that, besides
influencing encoding processes, mood state can be also related to retrieval
processes. On the contrary, negative mood induction enhanced a local processing
style, making easier and faster the detection of differences between nearly
identical pictures, independently of their valence. This dissociation supports
the hypothesis that current mood modulates processing through activation of
different cognitive styles.