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Processing Asymmetries of Emotionally Valenced Stimuli

Dahl, Mats LU (2002)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Skillnader i bearbetning av emotionella stimuli Den centrala frågeställningen i den här avhandlingen rör huruvida den emotionella laddningen av ett stimulus ger upphov till skillnader i den kognitiva bearbetningen. Är det så att negativt laddade stimuli (t.ex. ord som ”massaker”, ”våldtäkt”, bilder på hotfulla ansikten, eller bilder av otrevliga eller hotande situationer, t.ex. bilder av rånsituationer, skadade eller döda människor) inkodas och återhämtas ur minnet på ett annat sätt än motsvarande stimuli med positiv valens? Om så är fallet, hur ser den skillnaden ut? De tre experimentserier om ingår i avhandlingen visar genomgående att man generellt allokerar mer kognitiv kraft till... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Skillnader i bearbetning av emotionella stimuli Den centrala frågeställningen i den här avhandlingen rör huruvida den emotionella laddningen av ett stimulus ger upphov till skillnader i den kognitiva bearbetningen. Är det så att negativt laddade stimuli (t.ex. ord som ”massaker”, ”våldtäkt”, bilder på hotfulla ansikten, eller bilder av otrevliga eller hotande situationer, t.ex. bilder av rånsituationer, skadade eller döda människor) inkodas och återhämtas ur minnet på ett annat sätt än motsvarande stimuli med positiv valens? Om så är fallet, hur ser den skillnaden ut? De tre experimentserier om ingår i avhandlingen visar genomgående att man generellt allokerar mer kognitiv kraft till bearbetningen av negativa stimuli, d.v.s. det tar längre tid att avge svar i olika former av igenkänningsuppgifter om stimulus har en negativ emotionell laddning. Denna fördjupade bearbetning av negativa stimuli tycks initieras automatiskt för bilder av ansikten med negativa uttryck (t.ex. arg, ledsen) och bilder av hotfulla eller obehagliga situationer, men inte för negativa ord. För att det skall ske en mer ingående bearbetning av emotionella ord tycks det krävas en medveten aktivering av ordets emotionella laddning. Andra studier har visat att liknande emotionellt betingande skillnader finns i mer komplexa situationer, t.ex. beslutsfattande eller olika typer av minnesuppgifter. Sammantaget verkar det finnas goda grunder för att antaga att det är ytterst är evolutionära grunder för skillnaden i bearbetningen; när man konfronteras med ett potentiellt hot mot den egna organismen har det lönat sig att automatiskt initiera mer kognitiva resurser för att på ett optimalt sätt bemöta hotet, antingen med attack eller flykt. När man konfronteras med bilder av något hotande, utgör naturligtvis inte dessa ett hot <i>per se</i>, men då initieringen av bearbetningen sker automatiskt görs sannolikt ingen distinktion mellan faktiska hot och representationer av hot. Detta verkar också plausibelt ur ett evolutionärt perspektiv; om man hoppar åt sidan även för sånt som har ”ormlikt” utseende är chansen större att man klarar sig än om man står still och undersöker huruvida det ”ormlikande” verkligen är en orm eller om det är en vattenslang, för att sedan hoppa undan. Resultaten från de experiment som redovisas i den här avhandlingen tyder också på att det skulle finnas en skillnad i automaticitet mellan negativa ord och negativa bilder. Denna skillnad kan härledas till det faktum att ord har ett semantiskt ”mellanled”, d.v.s. att för att upplevas som något negativt måste ordet ”tolkas” som något negativt. Bilder av något negativt däremot är mer ”direktverkande” och initierar automatiskt en viss typ av respons. Vidare är språket en ”ungdom”, evolutionärt sätt, något som gör det tämligen osannolikt att automatiska responser skulle ha hunnit utvecklats på samma sätt som responser för konfrontationer med t.ex. sänkta ögonbryn, blottade tänder, etc. Sammanfattningsvis: vi har en automatiskt initierad djupare bearbetning av omedelbart hotande stimuli (t.ex. bilder på hotfulla ansikten och bilder på otrevliga eller hotande situationer) medan stimuli som inte har samma omedelbarhet (t.ex. ord), får en mer ingående bearbetning först när det blivit kategoriserat som negativt. (Less)
Abstract
The central phenomenon investigated concerns the valence-based process asymmetry found in several earlier studies (e.g. Pratto & John, 1991; Taylor, 1991), where negative stimuli seem to initiate more thorough processing than positive stimuli. This finding was consistent in the three empirical studies forming this dissertation. In Study 1 (three experiments) emotionally valenced words were presented at the centre of pictures of emotional faces (angry, sad, disgusted, happy). The results showed a general positive valence advantage (PVA) in reaction times for positive words relative to negative words. Furthermore, except for the words imposed on pictures of angry faces in the first experiment, the PVA increased when words were imposed on... (More)
The central phenomenon investigated concerns the valence-based process asymmetry found in several earlier studies (e.g. Pratto & John, 1991; Taylor, 1991), where negative stimuli seem to initiate more thorough processing than positive stimuli. This finding was consistent in the three empirical studies forming this dissertation. In Study 1 (three experiments) emotionally valenced words were presented at the centre of pictures of emotional faces (angry, sad, disgusted, happy). The results showed a general positive valence advantage (PVA) in reaction times for positive words relative to negative words. Furthermore, except for the words imposed on pictures of angry faces in the first experiment, the PVA increased when words were imposed on pictures of happy faces. In Study 2, the priming effects of emotional words were tested. In both experiments, two conditions were used. When valence had been activated by a valence categorisation task, negatively primed words resulted in prolonged RTs in a subsequent word recognition test. In the other condition, where the participants just read the word, no valence dependent latency differences were found. The results provide support for a non-automatic appraisal of the valence when using words as stimuli.In Study 3 (three experiments) neutral words were imposed on emotional pictures (negative, neutral and positive) in the encoding phase. In the following test phase the phenomenological quality of the memory was measured using the Remember-Know paradigm (Tulving, 1985). The results showed a decrease in the frequency of “remember” responses, suggesting less episodic detail in the retention experience of the to-be-remembered item, when the words had been presented on negative pictures relative to positive pictures. The third experiment tested whether the neutral words were primed by the valence of the encoding context (picture) and whether such affective information could be used as a cue in a subsequent source monitoring task (Johnson, Hashtroudi, Lindsay, 1993). However, no support for the valence-as-a-cue hypothesis was found. The results of the three studies are discussed within the framework of appraisal theories (Lazarus, 1991; Scherer, 2001) and Taylor’s mobilization-minimization hypothesis, and an evolutionary explanation for the processing asymmetry is considered. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Prof Conway, Martin
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Psykologi, Psychology, recollective experience, remember-know, memory, encoding, processing asymmetries, emotional words, emotional faces, affective pictures, emotion, affective information
pages
111 pages
publisher
Department of Psychology, Lund University
defense location
Kulturens auditorium
defense date
2002-05-03 10:15
external identifiers
  • Other:ISRN: LUSADG/SAPS—02/1106--SE
ISBN
91-628-5215-9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
65b057e6-1b29-4051-a6d8-fae60440f547 (old id 464608)
date added to LUP
2007-09-10 13:50:19
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:13
@misc{65b057e6-1b29-4051-a6d8-fae60440f547,
  abstract     = {The central phenomenon investigated concerns the valence-based process asymmetry found in several earlier studies (e.g. Pratto &amp; John, 1991; Taylor, 1991), where negative stimuli seem to initiate more thorough processing than positive stimuli. This finding was consistent in the three empirical studies forming this dissertation. In Study 1 (three experiments) emotionally valenced words were presented at the centre of pictures of emotional faces (angry, sad, disgusted, happy). The results showed a general positive valence advantage (PVA) in reaction times for positive words relative to negative words. Furthermore, except for the words imposed on pictures of angry faces in the first experiment, the PVA increased when words were imposed on pictures of happy faces. In Study 2, the priming effects of emotional words were tested. In both experiments, two conditions were used. When valence had been activated by a valence categorisation task, negatively primed words resulted in prolonged RTs in a subsequent word recognition test. In the other condition, where the participants just read the word, no valence dependent latency differences were found. The results provide support for a non-automatic appraisal of the valence when using words as stimuli.In Study 3 (three experiments) neutral words were imposed on emotional pictures (negative, neutral and positive) in the encoding phase. In the following test phase the phenomenological quality of the memory was measured using the Remember-Know paradigm (Tulving, 1985). The results showed a decrease in the frequency of “remember” responses, suggesting less episodic detail in the retention experience of the to-be-remembered item, when the words had been presented on negative pictures relative to positive pictures. The third experiment tested whether the neutral words were primed by the valence of the encoding context (picture) and whether such affective information could be used as a cue in a subsequent source monitoring task (Johnson, Hashtroudi, Lindsay, 1993). However, no support for the valence-as-a-cue hypothesis was found. The results of the three studies are discussed within the framework of appraisal theories (Lazarus, 1991; Scherer, 2001) and Taylor’s mobilization-minimization hypothesis, and an evolutionary explanation for the processing asymmetry is considered.},
  author       = {Dahl, Mats},
  isbn         = {91-628-5215-9},
  keyword      = {Psykologi,Psychology,recollective experience,remember-know,memory,encoding,processing asymmetries,emotional words,emotional faces,affective pictures,emotion,affective information},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {111},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xaa57c48)},
  title        = {Processing Asymmetries of Emotionally Valenced Stimuli},
  year         = {2002},
}