Malia Mason

The effect of mental progression on mood

Coauthor(s): Moshe Bar.


Adobe Acrobat PDF


This project explores the circumstances under which people find enjoyment in their thinking experiences. The notion that thinking has a discernable feel is substantiated by evidence from research on processing fluency. The results of several studies converge on the finding that effortless, speeded processing of information increases positive affect. Targets that are preceded by conceptually related information or embedded in congruent contexts elicit more positive affect than targets that are preceded by irrelevant information or embedded in incongruous contexts.  Although processing ease is a critical determinant of fluency, whether manipulations that increase efficiency (e.g., conceptual singularity) continue to induce positive affect over extended periods of information processing remains unclear. Both the research on mood disorders and everyday experience suggest that a critical feature of fluency extended through time is the feeling that one’s thoughts are covering mental ground.  Consistent with this intuition, the current investigation demonstrates that people find pleasure in their mentation when it has a sense of momentum about it. 

Source: Journal of experimental psychology. General
Exact Citation:
Mason, Malia, and M. Bar. "The effect of mental progression on mood." Journal of experimental psychology. General 141, no. 2 (May 2012): 217-221.
Volume: 141
Number: 2
Pages: 217-221
Date: 5 2012