Attentional inhibition has social-emotional consequences for unfamiliar faces.

MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.43). 11/2005; 16(10):753-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01609.x
Source: PubMed


Visual attention studies often rely on response time measures to show the impact of attentional facilitation and inhibition. Here we extend the investigation of the effects of attention on behavior and show that prior attentional states associated with unfamiliar faces can influence subsequent social-emotional judgments about those faces. Participants were shown pairs of face images and were asked to withhold a response if a transparent stop-signal cue appeared over one of the faces. This served to associate the cued face with an inhibitory state. Later, when asked to make social-emotional choices about these face pairs, participants chose uncued faces more often than cued faces as "more trustworthy" and chose cued faces more often than uncued faces as "less trustworthy." For perceptual choices, there was no effect of how the question was framed (which face is "on a lighter background" vs. "on a darker background"). These results suggest that attentional inhibition can be associated with socially relevant stimuli, such as faces, and can have specific, deleterious effects on social-emotional judgments.

Download full-text


Available from: Mark James Fenske,
  • Source
    • ". , 2008 ; Frischen et al . , 2012 ) and localization ( e . g . , Raymond et al . , 2003 ; Fenske et al . , 2004 ) , using stimuli ranging from meaningless patterns ( e . g . , Raymond et al . , 2003 ) , non - human objects ( e . g . , Griffiths and Mitchell , 2008 ) , and entire scenes ( Frischen et al . , 2012 ) , to images of real human faces ( Fenske et al . , 2005 ) , and bodies ( Ferrey et al . , 2012 ) . Moreover , these studies have shown that this inhibitory devaluation impacts a variety of subjective emotional judgments ( i . e . , likeability , relative prefer - ence , cheerfulness , pleasantness , trustworthiness , sexual attrac - tiveness ) , as well as the motivational incentive to seek "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stimuli that resemble humans, but are not perfectly human-like, are disliked compared to distinctly human and nonhuman stimuli. Accounts of this “Uncanny Valley” effect often focus on how changes in human resemblance can evoke different emotional responses. We present an alternate account based on the novel hypothesis that the Uncanny Valley is not directly related to ‘human-likeness’ per se, but instead reflects a more general form of stimulus devaluation that occurs when inhibition is triggered to resolve conflict between competing stimulus-related representations. We consider existing support for this inhibitory-devaluation hypothesis and further assess its feasibility through tests of two corresponding predictions that arise from the link between conflict-resolving inhibition and aversive response: 1) that the pronounced disliking of Uncanny-type stimuli will occur for any image that strongly activates multiple competing stimulus representations, even in the absence of any human-likeness, and 2) that the negative peak of an ‘Uncanny Valley’ should occur at the point of greatest stimulus-related conflict and not (in the presence of human-likeness) always closer to the ‘human’ end of a perceptual continuum. We measured affective responses to a set of line drawings representing nonhuman animal-animal morphs, in which each continuum midpoint was a bistable image (Exp. 1), as well as to sets of human-robot and human-animal computer-generated morphs (Exp. 2). Affective trends depicting classic Uncanny Valley functions occurred for all continua, including the nonhuman stimuli. Images at continua midpoints elicited significantly more negative affect than images at endpoints, even when the continua included a human endpoint. This illustrates the feasibility of the inhibitory-devaluation hypothesis and the need for further research into the possibility that the strong dislike of Uncanny-type stimuli reflects the negative affective consequences of cognitive inhibition.
    Frontiers in Psychology 03/2015; 6(249). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00249 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Here we tested the idea that, in the Transfer phase, repeated implementation of putative response suppression on nogoCSþ trials would lead to reduced provocation from the CS þ on go trials. This idea is suggested by recent studies using go-nogo and related paradigms, where withholding responding ( " nogo-ing " ) to reward-related stimuli leads to an apparent decrease in the hedonic value of those stimuli when compared to " going " (Fenske et al., 2005; Ferrey et al., 2012; Houben and Jansen, 2011; Kiss et al., 2008; Wessel et al., 2014). These results have been interpreted as an " inhibitory devaluation " , whereby response suppression during nogo trials leads to a reduction in the " value " or " motivational incentive " of reward-related stimuli (Frischen et al., 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reward-predicting stimuli can induce maladaptive behavior by provoking action tendencies that conflict with long-term goals. Earlier, we showed that when human participants were permitted to respond for a reward in the presence of a task-irrelevant, reward-predicting stimulus (i.e. goCS+ trials), the CS+ provoked an action tendency to respond compared to when a non-rewarding CS- stimulus was present (i.e. goCS- trials). However, when participants were not permitted to respond, response suppression was recruited to mitigate the action tendency that was triggered by the motivating CS+ stimulus (i.e. on nogoCS+ trials) (Freeman, Razhas, & Aron, 2014). Here we tested the hypothesis that repeated response suppression over a motivationally-triggered action tendency would reduce subsequent CS+ provocation. We compared groups of participants who had different proportions of nogoCS+ trials, and we measured CS+ provocation on go trials via reaction time. Our results showed that CS+ provocation on go trials was reduced monotonically as the proportion of nogoCS+ trials increased. Further analysis showed that these group differences were best explained by reduced provocation on goCS+ trials that followed nogoCS+ (compared to nogoCS-) trials. Follow-up experiments using a neurophysiological index of motor activity replicated these effects and also suggested that, following nogoCS+ trials, a response suppression mechanism was in place to help prevent subsequent CS+ provocation. Thus, our results show that performing response suppression in the face of a motivating stimulus not only controls responding at that time, but also prevents provocation in the near future. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Neuropsychologia 01/2015; 68. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.016 · 3.30 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "In sum, there is a fair amount of empirical evidence showing affective devaluation of distractor stimuli in search tasks (e.g., Raymond et al., 2003), response suppression paradigms (e.g., Fenske et al., 2005; Veling et al., 2008), and interference paradigms such as the flanker task (Martiny-Huenger et al., 2014a). There is also evidence that a conflict between intended and stimulus-elicited processes may be an important part of the distractor devaluation effect. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the current chapter, we focus on evaluative consequences of successfully implementing an intended action. In the first part of the chapter, we review research showing the affective devaluation of objects that are in conflict with intended actions (i.e., the distractor devaluation effect); devaluation here refers to more negative (or less positive) evaluations of distracting stimuli after episodes of intentional selection (i.e., intentionally responding to certain stimuli in a way that requires ignoring distractors). In doing so, we focus on recent evidence supporting the assumption that this devaluation occurs in particular for interference-creating stimuli. In the second part of the chapter, we turn to the potential downstream consequences of distractor devaluation. First, we provide evidence that evaluative consequences of distractor devaluation and mere exposure can systematically influence intergroup bias. Second, we show how prior devaluation processes may bias subsequent selection processes in favor of executing intended actions. Thus, whereas most of the current research on action control focuses on how people best translate their intentions into action, the present chapter addresses the further question of how the execution of behavioral intentions leads to changes in affect that facilitate the maintenance of one’s intentions in the long run.
Show more