Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship between mood and attentional testing in 80 college students. Participants were randomly assigned to a sad, anxious, or positive mood induction procedure, or to a neutral procedure. Following mood induction, sad and anxious groups reported significantly more negative affect than the positive and neutral groups. Following completion of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT), no group differences were found. Sad and anxious groups retained their elevated negative mood states, whereas positive and neutral mood groups showed significant increases in negative mood states. These results are consistent with clinical reports that the PASAT is a stressful test. PASAT performance was essentially similar across groups, with the only significant difference found between the sad and control conditions at the 1.2-sec rate of presentation. Results raise the question to what extent participants' subjective experience of the PASAT may interfere with their performance on the task.