Mood Induction Procedures

Mood induction procedures to accompany Jefferies et al (2008).

  • Jefferies, L.N., Smilek, D., Eich, E., & Enns, J. T. (2008). Emotional valence and arousal interact in the control of attention. Psychological Science, 19(3), 290-295. [pdf]

Appendix 1: Mood rating instructions
The questionnaire you completed a few minutes ago asked how you felt over the past week (Beck Depression Inventory) but now we are interested in how you are feeling right now.

This grid has two dimensions (show paper grid). The first is how unpleasant or pleasant you are feeling right now, and the other is how energized you feel. So starting with pleasantness, this column (pointing to center) represents a neutral state and as you move right these represent slightly, moderately, very, and extremely pleasant feelings (point to columns on right). Moving in the other direction (pointing left) these columns represent slightly to extremely unpleasant feelings.

Arousal varies the same way, but this time it moves up and down to different rows. So this direction (pointing up) represents neutral to extremely high levels of energy or activity, and this direction (pointing down) represents neutral to extremely low levels of energy.

Note that these two aspects of your feelings can both change. For example, if I come to work early in the morning, I may feel moderately unpleasant (point to column), and after having some coffee I may feel very aroused (point to row), so I would put an X in this box (point to box). But by the end of the afternoon I may be feeling low in energy, but also very pleasant because of getting back a good grade on an assignment (point to new box). So let’s start by indicating how you feel at this very moment, just to get a sense of where you are before we get started on the visual task.

Appendix 2: Mood Induction instructions
Before we begin the visual task I am going to ask you to get into a mood that makes you as [anxious, happy, sad, or calm] as you feel comfortable. You can do this by thinking about an event in your life where you felt especially (same mood word). I know that this may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is very important for our research.

I’ve done this a few times myself so I’ll tell you a few things about it. I found that since I was the one asking myself to become (same mood word) by thinking about events in my own life, I was very much in control of the mood. I could intensify, lessen, and later even end the mood quite easily by changing my thoughts.

I’ll begin by turning on some music that people usually find helpful for getting into mood that makes them feel (same mood word). While you are listening to the music, please think about a particular event from your past where you were especially (same mood word).

While you are listening to the music I’d like you to relive this event. When I did this, I thought about the time…(give a personal example). It is important to remember that the more detail you can re-create in your mind about the event, the more intensely you’ll re-live that same feelings.

But I also want to reassure you that I will take time at the end of the session to make sure you are feeling normal again before you leave today. Remember that the goal is to feel as (same mood word) as possible for this short period of time. I know this may not be easy, but are you willing to try?

I’ll leave you alone now with the music and your thoughts (dim room lighting). Please relax in the chair while you think about these events and put your feet up if you like. I’ll be coming back in every 5 minutes to ask you to rate how you are feeling. I don’t want this to disturb you. I’ll just quietly ask you to mark your mood on this grid and then I’ll leave again. Please try to stay focused on the events you are re-living. If you want to stop at any time, don’t hesitate to tell me.

Appendix 3: Representative musical pieces













Symphony No.8 in C Minor, Finale
Mars, The Bringer of War, The Planets
Grosse Fugue B Flat Major, Op. 133
Uranus, The Magician, The Planets
Four Seasons, Concerto 1: Spring, Presto
Symphony No.6 in F Major, Opus 68, Pastoral IV
Peer Gynt Suite No.2, Opus 55:1

Adagio in G Minor
Violin Concerto: Adagio di Molto
Prelude in E Minor, Opus 28, No.4
Piano Quintet No.1 in D Minor


Eine Kleine Nachtmusik: Allegro
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik: Rondo
Brandenburg Concerto #3: Allegro
The Nutcracker: Waltz of the Flowers
Slavonic Dances
Hungarian Dance No.7 in A Major
Four Seasons, Spring


Venus, The Bringer of Peace, The Planets
Ave Maria
Peer Gynt, Op.24, No.14, Act 4, Prelude
Appalachian Spring
Rodeo: No.2 Corral Nocturne
Carnival of the Animals: The Swan