This paper examines whether emotional message content alters the effects of structural complexity and information density on available resources, measured by secondary task reaction times (STRTs), and message encoding, measured by audio recognition. In addition, hypotheses relating motivational activation and resource availability based on the motivational activation concepts of positivity offset (greater appetitive activation in a neutral environment) and negativity bias (faster aversive activation) influence are tested. Results replicate previous research supporting the contention that STRTs measure available resources. In addition, they show that the basic pattern of STRTs and recognition as a function of allocated and required resources is relatively consistent regardless of emotional content of the message. Emotion appears to function as a constant, increasing both resource allocation and resources required. Finally, these data provide some initial support for predicted relationships between motivational activation and resource allocation based on the constructs of positivity offset and negativity bias.