Psychology ETDs


Rachel Freund

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This experimental study aimed to show the motivational effect of mood-altering verbal events on consequential functions through use of a within-subjects, repeated-measures design. Specifically, the effects of mood-induction on the self-reported value of various activities were investigated using explicit and implicit measurement. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) was used as an indirect measure of changes in the reinforcing value of pleasant and unpleasant cognitive activities after mood induction. Implicit assessment allowed for minimization of demand characteristics together with assessment of cognitive preferences that participants were unaware of or reluctant to report. Data from 30 university undergraduates were analyzed and predicted effects regarding the differential reinforcement value of pleasant and unpleasant overt and covert activities after positive and negative mood induction were demonstrated. Pleasant activities were more reinforcing after positive mood induction and less reinforcing after negative mood induction, when unpleasant activities increased in reinforcing value. Interestingly, participants explicit report of mood state was often incongruent with their explicit and implicit preferences for overt and covert activities. Specifically, many participants did not explicitly report a negative affective state after negative mood-induction procedures, but they nonetheless preferred pleasant activities less. The reinforcing value of pleasant and unpleasant activities changed regardless of the mood state reported, based on contact with verbal environmental events. Altogether, these findings support the claim that verbal mood-altering antecedent events can function to alter the reinforcing value of activities, thus contributing to existing evidence that they function as motivating operations. Additionally, this study underscores the importance of implicit assessment, and highlights the potential utility of the IRAP as a clinical tool.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Smith, Bruce

Second Committee Member

Matthews, Dan

Third Committee Member

Copeland, Susan




Verbal conditioning, Reinforcement (Psychology), Mood (Psychology), Implicit learning.

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