Be better or be merry: How mood affects self-control, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Six studies test whether the effect of mood on self-control success depends on a person’s accessible goal. Positive mood signals a person to adopt an accessible goal, whereas negative mood signals a person to reject an accessible goal; therefore, if self improvement goal is accessible, happy (vs. neutral or unhappy) people perform better on self-control tasks that further that goal. Conversely, if mood management goal is accessible, happy people abstain from self control tasks because the tasks are incompatible with this goal. This pattern receives consistent support across several self-control tasks, including donating to charity, physical endurance, seeking negative feedback, and completing tests.
Ayelet Fishbach, Aparna Labroo
Fishbach, Ayelet, and Aparna Labroo. 2007. Be better or be merry: How mood affects self-control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 93(2): 158-173.