Article

Automatic vigilance: The attention-grabbing power of approach-avoidance-related social information

Department of Psychology, University of Münster, Germany.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 07/2000; 78(6):1024-37. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.78.6.1024
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ABSTRACT The automatic processing of information was investigated, varying valence (positive vs. negative) and relevance (other-relevant traits [ORT] vs. possessor-relevant traits [PRT]; G. Peeters, 1983) of stimuli. ORTs denote unconditionally positive or negative consequences for persons in the social environment of the holder of the trait (e.g., honest, brutal) whereas PRTs denote unconditionally positive or negative consequences for the trait holder (e.g., happy, depressive). In 2 experiments using the Stroop paradigm, larger interference effects were found for ORTs than PRTs. This is due to the behavior-relatedness of ORTs. In a go/no-go lexical decision task (Experiment 3), participants either had to withdraw their finger from a pressed key (i.e., "avoid") or had to press a key (i.e., "approach") if a word was presented. Responses to negative ORTs were relatively faster in the withdraw condition, whereas positive ORTs were relatively faster in the press condition.

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    • "Previous research has found that valenced stimuli interact with compatible approach and avoidance responses; usually facilitation is shown by shorter approach/avoidance congruent responses (Chen & Bargh, 1999; Duckworth et al., 2002; Rinck & Becker, 2007; Seidel et al., 2010; Solarz, 1960; Stins et al., 2011; Wentura et al., 2000). By contrast, in our study, stepping did not show such interaction, as the valence of the conduct verb did not significantly interfere with forward and backward stepping. "
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    ABSTRACT: Approach and avoidance tendencies towards valenced others could be associated with our interpersonal conduct towards them: helping would be associated with approach tendency, and harming (or denying help) would be associated with avoidance. We propose that the encoding of this association enjoys attentional priority, as approach/avoidance representations of past interactions would regulate one's predisposition to either help or harm in subsequent interactions. Participants listened to interactions conveying positive/negative conduct between 2 characters. The conduct verb was then presented visually with a cue prompting participants to quickly step forward or backward. Subsequently, they performed a recognition task of noncentral story details. In matching conditions (positive conduct-step forward, negative conduct-step backward) the concurrent step should interfere with the encoding of motor representation of the conduct verb, and the verb encoding should divert attentional resources from the consolidation of memory traces of less relevant information. Results showed the predicted impairment in the recognition task in matching conditions, which supports an attentional bias towards encoding motor approach/avoidance representation of interpersonal conduct in the process of comprehending narrated interactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 02/2015; 69(2). DOI:10.1037/cep0000046 · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    • "In our study this increase of RT for negative words was significant when compared to positive, but not when compared to neutral words. These findings can be attributed to the " automatic vigilance " hypothesis implying that people tend to focus their attention preferentially on negative stimuli and can also rather difficult dissolve it from them (Wentura et al., 2000; Öhman and Mineka, 2001). This is in line with findings by Estes and Verges (2008) who postulated a slower disentanglement of attention from negative stimuli and with an approach by Larsen et al. (2008) "
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    Frontiers in Psychology 09/2014; 5:1039. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01039 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • ". e Press Time = RT + Movement Time . f Estimated from Fig . 1 in Chen and Bargh ( 1999 ) . g Observed in 2nd Half of Experiment . h Estimated from Fig . 3 in Wentura et al . ( 2000 ) ."
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    Acta Psychologica 09/2014; 156. DOI:10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.08.007 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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