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The joint influence of mood and a cognitively demanding task on risk-taking

This study investigates a mood regulation-based reconciliation of prior findings in the mood maintenance and information processes literatures about the impact of negative mood state on risktaking judgment. Participants were administered a negative mood state induction using a standardized film clip procedure and subsequently completed a measure of risk-taking judgment under one of three conditions: (1) immediately following the mood induction, (2) following a 5 min no-task delay period, or (3) following performance of a cognitively demanding task. As expected, participants who made risk judgments after the performance of the cognitively demanding task showed higher level of recovery from the negative mood induction (i.e., increased positive mood and decreased negative mood) and lower levels of risk-taking judgment than participants in the delayed condition. Additional analyses showed the risk-taking judgments were explained by mood change after the interpolated task. These findings reconcile previous inconsistencies between the two perspectives. Implications for future research on the restorative role of cognitive task performance as a mood regulation strategy are discussed.