Forgas, J.P. (in press). Asking nicely? The effects of mood on responding to more or less polite requests. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Receiving a request usually presents us with complex strategic choices. What is the role of mood in influencing our evaluation of, and responses to more or less polite requests? Based on the Affect Infusion Model (AIM; Forgas, 1995a), it was predicted and found that (a) reactions to requests show a significant mood-congruent bias, and (b) these mood effects are greater when more substantive processing is recruited by more unconventional, impolite requests. In an unobtrusive procedure, readers in a library were exposed to pictures or text designed to elicit positive or negative moods. Subsequently, their reactions to more or less polite requests by a confederate were evaluated. Those in a negative mood evaluated requests more negatively and complied less than did happy persons, and this mood effect was significantly greater for impolite, unconventional requests. Superior recall memory for unconventional, impolite requests confirmed the more substantive processing of these messages. The results are interpreted as consistent with the AIM, confirming the role of different processing strategies in the mediation of mood effects on verbal communication. The implications of the findings for strategic interpersonal behavior, and for contemporary theories of affect and cognition are considered.