Influences of mood on information processing styles in high and low symptom reporters
More details
Hide details
Submission date: 2015-09-01
Acceptance date: 2015-10-22
Online publication date: 2015-12-01
Publication date: 2015-11-17
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(4):300–311
Negative mood, which has been strongly linked to the presence of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS), is also suggested to modulate the way information is processed (analytic vs. schematic processing style). The present study investigated whether negative mood influences the information processing style differentially in people reporting frequent MUS in daily life.

Participants and procedure
Forty female participants (22 low, 18 high habitual symptom reporters) completed a semantic priming task, as an index of schematic processing, after positive and after negative mood induction in a counterbalanced order. The priming task consisted of neutral or unpleasant body-related and body-unrelated words to assess the specificity of processing style shifts.

The analyses indicated a non-significant tendency for negative mood to increase priming effects compared to positive mood for the high habitual symptom reporters, while the opposite pattern was found for the low symptom reporters. This differential effect of mood was only seen for neutral body-related words.

The current findings suggest that negative mood can trigger schematic processes assumed to be crucial for the emergence of MUS, which may explain the profound link between unpleasantness and elevated symptom reporting in high symptom reporters.
Albersnagel, F. A. (1988). Velten and musical mood induction procedures: A comparison with accessibility of thought associations. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 26, 79-95.
Anderson, J. R. (1983). A spreading activation theory of memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 22, 261-295.
Baumgartner, T., Esslen, M., & Jäncke, L. (2006). From emotion perception to emotion experience: Emotions evoked by pictures and classical music. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 60, 34-43.
Bless, H., Clore, G. L., Schwarz, N., Golisano, V., Rabe, C., & Wolk, M. (1996). Mood and the use of scripts: Does a happy mood really lead to mindlessness? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 665-679.
Bogaerts, K., Janssens, T., De Peuter, S., Van Diest, I., & Van den Bergh, O. (2010). Negative affective pictures can elicit physical symptoms in high habitual symptom reporters. Psychology & Health, 25, 685-698.
Bogaerts, K., Millen, A., Wan, L., De Peuter, S., Van Diest, I., Vlemincx, E., Fannes, S., & Van den.
Bergh, O. (2008). High symptom reporters are less interoceptively accurate in a symptom-related context. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 65, 417-424.
Bogaerts, K., Notebaert, K., Van Diest, I., Devriese, S., De Peuter, S., & Van den Bergh, O. (2005). Accuracy of respiratory symptom perception in different affective contexts. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 58, 537-543.
Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (1994). Measuring emotion: The self-assessment manikin and the semantic differential. Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 25, 49-59.
Brosschot, J. F. (2002). Cognitive-emotional sensitization and somatic health complaints. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43, 113-121.
Brown, R. J. (2004). Psychological mechanisms of medically unexplained symptoms: An integrative conceptual model. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 793-812.
Brown, H. D., Kosslyn, S. M., Delamater, B., Fama, J., & Barsky, A. J. (1999). Perceptual and memory biases for health-related information in hypochondriacal individuals. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 47, 67-78.
Cioffi, D. (1991). Beyond attentional strategies: A cognitive-perceptual model of somatic interpretation. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 25-41.
Clore, G., & Huntsinger, J. R. (2007). How emotions inform judgment and regulate thought. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 393-399.
Collins, A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological review, 82, 407-428.
Constantinou, E., Bogaerts, K., Van Diest, I., & Van den Bergh, O. (2013). Inducing symptoms in high symptom reporters via emotional pictures: the interactive effects of valence and arousal. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 74, 191-196.
de Houwer, J., Hermans, D., Rothermund, K., & Wentura, D. (2002). Affective priming of semantic categorisation responses. Cognition & Emotion, 16, 643-666.
de Wied, M. A., & Verbaten, M. N. (2001). Affective pictures processing, attention, and pain tolerance. Pain, 90, 163-172.
Duyck, W., Desmet, T., Verbeke, L., & Brysbaert, M. (2004). WordGen: A tool for word selection and non-word generation in Dutch, German, English, and French. Behaviour Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, 36, 488-499.
Engelen, U., De Peuter, S., Victoir, A., Van Diest, I., & Van den Bergh, O. (2006). Verdere validering van de Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) en vergelijking van twee Nederlandstalige versies [Further validation of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and comparison of two Dutch versions]. Gedrag en Gezondheid, 34, 89-102.
Forgas, J. P. (1995). Mood and judgment: the affect infusion model (AIM). Psychological Bulletin, 117, 39-66.
Gasper, K., & Clore, G. L. (1998). The persistent use of negative affect by anxious individuals to estimate risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1350-1363.
Gasper, K., & Clore, G. L. (2002). Attending to the big picture: Mood and global versus local processing of visual information. Psychological Science, 13, 33-39.
Gohm, C. L., & Clore, G. L. (2002). Affect as information: An individual differences approach. In: L. Feldmann-Barrett & P. Salovey (eds.), The Wisdom of Feelings: Psychological Processes in Emotional Intelligence (pp. 89-113). New York: Guilford.
Hänze, M., & Hesse, F. (1993). Emotional influences on semantic priming. Cognition & Emotion, 7, 195-205.
Harmon-Jones, E., Gable, P. A., & Price, T. F. (2013). Does negative affect always narrow and positive affect always broaden the mind? Considering the influence of motivational intensity on cognitive scope. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 301-307.
Henderson, C. J., Hagger, M. S., & Orbell, S. (2007). Does priming a specific illness schema result in an attentional information-processing bias for specific illnesses? Health Psychology, 26, 165-173.
Hiller, W., Rief, W., & Brähler, E. (2006). Somatization in the population: from mild bodily misperceptions to disabling symptoms. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41, 704-712.
Joormann, J., Teachman, B. A., & Gotlib, I. H. (2009). Sadder and less accurate? False memory for negative material in depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 412-417.
Kroenke, K. (2003). Patients presenting with somatic complaints: epidemiology, psychiatric co-morbidity and management. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 12, 34-43.
Lang, P. J., Bradley, M. M., & Cuthbert, B. (2005). International Affective Picture System (IAPS): Instruction Manual and Affective Ratings. Technical Report A-6. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida.
Lim, S. L., & Kim, J. H. (2005). Cognitive processing of emotional information in depression, panic, and somatoform disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 50-61.
Meagher, M. W., Arnau, R. C., & Rhudy, J. L. (2001). Pain and emotion: effects of affective picture modulation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 63, 79-90.
Meerman, E. E., Verkuil, B., & Brosschot, J. F. (2011). Decreasing pain tolerance outside of awareness. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 70, 250-257.
Moss-Morris, R., & Petrie, K. J. (2003). Experimental evidence for interpretive but not attention biases towards somatic information in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. British Journal of Health Psychology, 8, 195-208.
Neely, J. H. (1977). Semantic priming and retrieval from lexical memory: Roles of inhibitionless spreading activation and limited-capacity attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 106, 226-254.
Pauli, P., & Alpers, G. W. (2002). Memory bias in patients with hypochondriasis and somatoform pain disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 52, 45-53.
Rossell, S. L., & Nobre, A. C. (2004). Semantic priming of different affective categories. Emotion, 4, 354-363.
Schwarz, N. (2012). Feelings-as-information theory. In: P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 289-308). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Skelton, J. A., & Strohmetz, D. B. (1990). Priming symptom reports with health-related cognitive activity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 16, 449-464.
Spruyt, A., Clarysse, J., Vansteenwegen, D., Baeyens, F., & Hermans, D. (2010). Affect 4.0: A free software package for implementing psychological and psychophysiological experiments. Experimental Psychology, 57, 36-45.
Storbeck, J. (2013). Negative affect promotes encoding of and memory for details at the expense of the gist: Affect, encoding, and false memories. Cognition & Emotion, 27, 800-819.
Storbeck, J., & Clore, G. L. (2005). With sadness comes accuracy, with happiness, false memory: Mood and the false memory effect. Psychological Science, 16, 785-791.
Storbeck, J., & Clore, G. L. (2008). The affective regulation of cognitive priming. Emotion, 8, 208-215.
Topolinski, S., & Deutsch, R. (2013). Phasic affective modulation of semantic priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 414-436.
Townsend, J. T., & Ashby, F. G. (1983). The stochastic modeling of elementary psychological processes. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Van Damme, I. (2013). Mood and the DRM paradigm: An investigation of the effects of valence and arousal on false memory. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 1060-1081.
Van Diest, I., De Peuter, S., Eertmans, A., Bogaerts, K., Victoir, A., & Van den Bergh, O. (2005). Negative affectivity and enhanced symptom reports: Differentiating between symptoms in men and women. Social Science & Medicine, 61, 1835-1845.
Voss, A., Rothermund, K., Gast, A., & Wentura, D. (2013). Cognitive processes in associative and categorical priming: A diffusion model analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142, 536-559.
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070.
Wentura, D., & Degner, J. (2010). A practical guide to sequential priming and related tasks. In: B. Gawronski & B. K. Payne (eds.), Handbook of implicit social cognition: Measurement, theory, and applications (pp. 95-116). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Wientjes, C. J., & Grossman, P. (1994). Over-reactivity of the psyche or the soma? Interindividual associations between psychosomatic symptoms, anxiety, heart rate, and end-tidal partial carbon dioxide pressure. Psychosomatic Medicine, 56, 533-540.
Williams, P. G., Wasserman, M. S., & Lotto, A. J. (2003). Individual differences in self-assessed health: An information-processing investigation of health and illness cognition. Health Psychology, 22, 3-11.
Witthöft, M., Gerlach, A. L., & Bailer, J. (2006). Selective attention, memory bias, and symptom perception in idiopathic environmental intolerance and somatoform disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 397-407.