Personality, mood, and cognitive processing of emotional information: Three conceptual frameworks

by C. L. Rusting
Psychol. Bull. ()
  • ISSN: 0033-2909


This article reviews evidence for the roles that mood states and personality traits play in the processing of emotion-congruent information across different cognitive tasks. Evidence is reviewed for 3 emotion-congruency frameworks, each summarizing a different route to emotional processing: the traditional approach, a moderation approach, and a mediation approach. Most of the traditional literature includes studies that examine the effects of moods and traits on emotional processing separately; these studies have yielded some inconsistent findings. The moderation and mediation approaches offer potential solutions to the lack of consistency obtained in the traditional literature by allowing for the combined effects of personality traits and mood states on the processing of emotional information. The moderation approach suggests that mood states interact with individual differences in emotion-relevant personality traits to influence emotion-congruent processing. The mediation approach suggests that personality traits predispose individuals to certain mood states, which then influence emotional processing. These approaches provide a framework for understanding the literature and a starting point for future research on emotion-congruent processing.

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