Definition: A memory process that selectively retrieves memories that match (are congruent with) one's mood.

Quite Simply...

  • When something happens that strongly affects your mood the memory will be retrieved when experiencing the mood again.
  • A common relation between the mood you are in and memories.
  • A recollection of memories based upon the emotion that you are feeling at that one particular moment of recollection.
  • When you remember something that happened that is related to what mood you are in at the time.
  • Depending on your mood, you will think of past memories that relate to your recent mood.


  • When you're upset about something and start crying, you think about a bunch of other events that make/have made you sad and result in you crying more.
  • If someone is depressed, they will likely only recall negative or painful memories and dwell on them; it is unlikely that someone in a bad mood will think of pleasant memories.
  • I am in a really good mood and I am laughing with my friends about something funny. Because of my silly mood, I start to remember another thing that was funny that occurred in the past and continue laughing.
  • When you have a great evening with your boyfriend/girlfriend, you remember all of the great memories you have had with that person, and ignore the bad memories.
  • Think of how when that one little thing goes wrong, it's a big deal because that was the last straw, because now you think about everything else you're upset about.
  • You are in a good mood and you think of a time that put you in the same kind of mood.
  • If you see someone that makes you extremely happy, you will remember happy times with them.


  • An experiment was made to test the stength and magnitude of mood-congruent recall with certain modds by examining nondepressed, subclinically depressed, clinically depressed, induced depressed, and induced elated people.People who aren't depressed are favored by asymmetric recall because positive stimuli seems to be part of the normal pattern of memory performance among people. However, when examining subclinically depressed people, symmetrical recall is used more often with positive and negative stimuli. It's concluded that depending on your mood or common mood, any related mood stimuli will cause more recalls of that similar mood.
  • Matt, G. E., Vázquez, C., & Campbell, W. K. (1992). Mood-congruent recall of affectively toned stimuli: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review,12(2), 227-255.

  • An expiriement was conducted where people were induced with being either happy or sad moods by using hypnotic suggestion in order to investigate whether emotions or memories influence the mood. the expiriement was successful because through the data they were able to find a connection between mood and the mood stimulator.
  • Bower, G. H. (1981). Mood and memory. American Psychologist; American Psychologist, 36(2), 129.