To examine whether acute changes in cognitive empathy might mediate the impact of light therapy on mood, we assessed the effects of a single light-therapy session on mood and cognitive empathy in 48 premenstrual women, including 17 who met Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool criteria for moderate-to-severe premenstrual syndrome / premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMS/PMDD). Using a participant-blind between-groups design, 23 women underwent 30 min of morning light therapy (5,000 lx; blue-enriched polychromatic light, 17,000 K) while 25 women had a sham session (200 lx, polychromatic light, 5,000 K). We administered the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule and the Affect Grid right before and after the intervention, and 60 min later upon completion of a computerized empathic accuracy task. There were no significant effects of light condition on cognitive empathy as assessed using the computer task. Nonetheless, bright light reduced negative affect, specifically in women not using hormonal contraceptives. No effects of bright light on mood were observed in women who were using contraceptives. If a single light-therapy session does not alter cognitive empathy, then cognitive empathy may not mediate the impact of light therapy on mood in premenstrual women.