Mood congruence

In psychiatry, mood congruence is the congruence between feeling, or the emotion that a person is experiencing, and affect display, or the manner in which that emotion is "presenting", or being expressed.

In psychology, symptoms are said to be mood-congruent if they are consistent with a patient's mood or mental disorder. Conversely, they are said to be mood-incongruent if they are inconsistent with their primary mood. For example, suicide ideation in a patient suffering from Major Depressive Disorder would be a mood-congruent symptom. Likewise, feelings of omnipotence or other delusions of grandeur would be considered mood-incongruent symptoms in the case of depression, while they would be mood-congruent in a person experiencing megalomania.

Often refers to mood-congruent delusions. Manic delusions include delusions of reference, religiousity, grandiosity. Depressive delusions include intense feelings of guilt, feeling as though they are responsible for a terrible crime, delusions of persecution as well as thought-blocking, thought-insertion and thought-withdrawal.

Moreover, in social psychology the definition mood congruency refers to a cognitive mechanism that explains a wide variety of mood effects in which there is a match in affective valence between people’s mood and their responses (Mayer et al., 1992).

Examples:

  • Congruent mood - smiling while feeling happy.
  • Non-congruent mood - smiling while feeling anxious.
  • Inappropriate affect - laughing while describing a loved one's funeral, for instance.

Mood Congruency is strongest when people try to recall personally meaningful episodes, because such events were most likely to be colored by their moods.



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