The events of 9/11 marked an increase in prejudice, discrimination, and other forms of unfair treatment toward Muslim Americans. We present a study that examined the emotions of Muslim Americans in the days preceding the ten-year 9/11 anniversary. We measured the antecedents (concerns) and consequences (coping) of sadness, fear, and anger. The 9/11 anniversary precipitated intense concerns with loss and discrimination, and intense feelings of sadness, fear, and anger. We measured three coping responses: rumination, avoidance of public places, and religious coping. Participants engaged in all three coping responses, with seeking solace in one's religion being the most frequent response. Moreover, emotions mediated the relationship between concerns and coping responses. Sadness accounted for the association between concern with loss and rumination. Fear explained the association between concern with discrimination and avoidance. Anger accounted for the association between concern with discrimination and religious coping.
In everyday life, people frequently make decisions based on tacit or explicit forecasts about the emotional consequences associated with the possible choices. We investigated age differences in such forecasts and their accuracy by surveying voters about their expected and, subsequently, their actual emotional responses to the 2008 US presidential election. A sample of 762 Democratic and Republican voters aged 20 to 80 years participated in a web-based study; 346 could be re-contacted two days after the election. Older adults forecasted lower increases in high-arousal emotions (e.g., excitement after winning; anger after losing) and larger increases in low-arousal emotions (e.g., sluggishness after losing) than younger adults. Age differences in actual responses to the election were consistent with forecasts, albeit less pervasive. Additionally, among supporters of the winning candidate, but not among supporters of the losing candidate, forecasting accuracy was enhanced with age, suggesting a positivity effect in affective forecasting. These results add to emerging findings about the role of valence and arousal in emotional ageing and demonstrate age differences in affective forecasting about a real-world event with an emotionally charged outcome.
The present study examined memory accuracy and confidence for personal and public event details of the 2008 presidential election in healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Participants completed phone interviews within a week after the election and after a 10-month delay. MCI patients and healthy older adults had comparable emotional reactions to learning the outcome of the election, with most people finding it to be a positive experience. After the delay period, details about the election were better remembered by all participants than a less emotionally arousing comparison event. However, MCI patients had more difficulty than healthy older adults correctly recalling details of public information about the election, although often the MCI patients could recognise the correct details. This is the first study to show that MCI patients' memory can benefit from emotionally arousing positive events, complementing the literature demonstrating similar effects for negative events.
One of the most fundamental distinctions in the field of emotion is the distinction between emotion generation and emotion regulation. This distinction fits comfortably with folk theories, which view emotions as passions that arise unbidden and then must be controlled. But is it really helpful to distinguish between emotion generation and emotion regulation? In this article, we begin by offering working definitions of emotion generation and emotion regulation. We argue that in some circumstances, the distinction between emotion generation and emotion regulation is indeed useful. We point both to citation patterns, which indicate that researchers from across a number of sub-areas within psychology are making this distinction, and to empirical studies, which indicate the utility of this distinction in many different research contexts. We then consider five ways in which the distinction between emotion generation and emotion regulation can be problematic. We suggest that it is time to move beyond debates about whether this distinction is useful to a more specific consideration of when and in what ways this distinction is useful, and in this spirit, we offer recommendations for future research.
It has previously been argued (a) that automatic evaluative stimulus processing is dependent upon feature-specific attention allocation (FSAA) and (b) that evaluative priming effects can arise in the absence of dimensional overlap between the prime set and the response set. In opposition to these claims, Werner and Rothermund (201331.
Werner, B., & Rothermund, K. (2013). Attention please: No affective priming effects in a valent/neutral-categorization task. Cognition and Emotion, 27, 119–132. doi:10.1080/02699931.2012.711744[Taylor & Francis Online], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references) recently reported that they were unable to replicate the evaluative priming effect in a valent/non-valent categorisation task. In this manuscript, I report the results of a conceptual replication of the studies by Werner and Rothermund (201331.
Werner, B., & Rothermund, K. (2013). Attention please: No affective priming effects in a valent/neutral-categorization task. Cognition and Emotion, 27, 119–132. doi:10.1080/02699931.2012.711744[Taylor & Francis Online], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references). A clear-cut evaluative priming effect was found, thus supporting the initial claims about FSAA and dimensional overlap. An explanation for these divergent findings is discussed.
Depression is a disorder of impaired emotion regulation. Consequently, examining individual differences in the habitual use of emotion regulation strategies has considerable potential to inform models of this debilitating disorder. The aim of the current study was to identify cognitive processes that may be associated with the use of emotion regulation strategies and to elucidate their relation to depression. Depression has been found to be associated with difficulties in cognitive control and, more specifically, with difficulties inhibiting the processing of negative material. We used a negative affective priming task to assess the relations among inhibition and individual differences in the habitual use of rumination, reappraisal, and expressive suppression in clinically depressed, formerly depressed, and never-depressed participants. We found that depressed participants exhibited the predicted lack of inhibition when processing negative material. Moreover, within the group of depressed participants, reduced inhibition of negative material was associated with greater rumination. Across the entire sample, reduced inhibition of negative material was related to less use of reappraisal and more use of expressive suppression. Finally, within the formerly depressed group, less use of reappraisal, more use of rumination, and greater expressive suppression were related to higher levels of depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that individual differences in the use of emotion regulation strategies play an important role in depression, and that deficits in cognitive control are related to the use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies in this disorder.
Increased vigilance to threat-related stimuli is thought to be a core cognitive feature of anxiety. We sought to investigate the cognitive impact of experimentally induced anxiety, by means of a 7.5% CO(2) challenge, which acts as an unconditioned anxiogenic stimulus, on attentional bias for positive and negative facial cues of emotional expression in the dot-probe task. In two experiments we found robust physiological and subjective effects of the CO(2) inhalation consistent with the claim that the procedure reliably induces anxiety. Data from the dot-probe task demonstrated an attentional bias to emotional facial expressions compared with neutral faces regardless of valence (happy, angry, and fearful). These attentional effects, however, were entirely inconsistent in terms of their relationship with induced anxiety. We conclude that the previously reported poor reliability of this task is the most parsimonious explanation for our conflicting findings and that future research should develop a more reliable paradigm for measuring attentional bias in this field.
We examined the ability of 150-166 undergraduate students to assign four negative emotions (sadness, fear, disgust, and anger) to five sets of emotion expression stimuli: a standard of face photographs expressing basic emotions, faces that were morphs of standards for these emotions, a special set of faces that was designed to detect different components of disgust expressions, and two sets of dynamic, video clips displays of emotions as described in traditional Hindu scriptures and used in classical Hindu dance. One of these sets presented the full body traditional displays (including hands and face), while in the second set, the same clips were used but the facial expressions were blocked out. Participants also completed an obsessive compulsive inventory and the disgust scale. Major findings are that: (a) there are some substantial individual differences in ability to correctly identify emotions; (b) the ability to detect facial emotions correlates substantially (.49) with ability to detect bodily emotions; (c) there is no evidence for specific deficits in the detection of any particular emotion; and (d) there is no relation between individual differences in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) tendencies or disgust sensitivity, in a normal sample and the ability to detect disgust.
Individual differences in higher-order cognitive abilities may be an important piece to understanding how and when self-discrepancies lead to negative emotions. In the current study, three measures of reasoning abilities were considered as potential moderators of the relationship between self-discrepancies and depression and anxiety symptoms. Participants (N = 162) completed measures assessing self-discrepancies, depression and anxiety symptoms, and were administered measures examining formal operational thought, and verbal and non-verbal abstract reasoning skills. Both formal operational thought and verbal abstract reasoning were significant moderators of the relationship between actual:ideal discrepancies and depressive symptoms. Discrepancies predicted depressive symptoms for individuals with higher levels of formal operational thought and verbal abstract reasoning skills, but not for those with lower levels. The discussion focuses on the need to consider advanced reasoning skills when examining self-discrepancies.
It was hypothesised that forgiveness mediates the relationship between PTSD and hostility within a population of adult childhood abuse survivors. Of the three components of forgiveness-self, other, and situation-self and situation forgiveness were posited as potent mediators of the PTSD and hostility relationship. No differences in the mediational role of forgiveness in sexual versus physical abuse and female versus male abuse survivors were hypothesised. As posited, overall forgiveness mediated the PTSD-hostility relationship and the forgiveness of self and situation were strong mediators. The theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed.
Theory and research suggest that negative events in childhood (e.g., childhood abuse) may contribute to the development of a cognitive vulnerability to depression. A limitation of past research, however, is that the majority has focused on explicit cognitions (e.g., attributional style) and it remains unclear whether similar relations would be observed for more implicit measures of depressive cognitions. This study investigated the relation between young adults' reports of childhood abuse and their implicit depressive cognitions, as measured by the Implicit Association Test. As hypothesised, young adults reporting a history of childhood abuse exhibited stronger implicit associations for depression-relevant stimuli than did individuals with no abuse history. These results were maintained even after statistically controlling for the influence of current depressive symptom levels.
Models of depression vulnerability posit that negative early experiences, such as exposure to childhood abuse (CA), increase vulnerability to depression later in life. Though most victims of CA do not go on to develop depression, the question remains as to whether these individuals retain cognitive 'scars' that may contribute to depression vulnerability. The present study examined the relationship between self-reported, retrospective CA and cognitive vulnerability to depression in a carefully selected sample of young adults without current or past psychopathology. We measured cognitive vulnerability with both a self-report questionnaire, the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS), and a measure of information processing bias, the Scrambled Sentences Test (SST). Self-reported severity of CA was associated with increased cognitive vulnerability to depression on both the DAS and SST. Vulnerability to depression as measured by the SST, but not by the DAS, prospectively predicted increases in depressive symptoms over a 6-month period. Scores on the SST also interacted with CA to predict increases in depressive symptoms. These findings demonstrate the pernicious effects of CA even in those without current or past psychopathology.
Previous studies have consistently shown that changing or avoiding emotions requires resources and therefore leads to impaired performance on a subsequent self-control task. The aim of the present study was to investigate the extent to which acceptance-based coping requires regulatory resources. Participants who accepted their emotions during exposure to a sad video performed better on a subsequent self-control task than participants who were instructed to suppress their emotions and a control group who received no instructions. These findings suggest that acceptance is an efficient strategy in terms of resources.
In eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), patients make eye movements (EM) during trauma recall. Earlier experimental studies found that EM during recall reduces memory vividness during future recalls, and this was taken as laboratory support for the underlying mechanism of EMDR. However, reduced vividness was assessed with self-reports that may be affected by demand characteristics. We tested whether recall+EM also reduces memory vividness on a behavioural reaction time (RT) task. Undergraduates (N=32) encoded two pictures, recalled them, and rated their vividness. In the EM group, one of the pictures was recalled again while making EM. In the no-EM group one of the pictures was recalled without EM. Then fragments from both the recalled and non-recalled pictures, and new fragments were presented and participants rated whether these were (or were not) seen before. Both pictures were rated again for vividness. In the EM group, self-rated vividness of the recalled+EM picture decreased, relative to the non-recalled picture. In the no-EM group there was no difference between the recalled versus non-recalled picture. The RT task showed the same pattern. Reduction of memory vividness due to recall+EM is also evident from non-self-report data.
Using a speeded word fragment completion task, we assessed age differences in the automatic accessibility of emotional versus neutral words from semantic memory. Participants were instructed to complete a series of single-solution word fragments as quickly as possible. The results demonstrate that older adults are biased against accessing both positive and negative words relative to neutral words, whereas young adults are biased against accessing positive words only. These findings suggest an arousal-based accessibility bias favouring neutral stimuli in older adults coupled with a valence-based bias accessing negative and neutral stimuli for young adults.
Recent research has shown that shame activates both a restore and a protect motive (De Hooge, Zeelenberg, & Breugelmans, 2010), explaining the hitherto unexpected finding that shame can lead to both approach and avoidance behaviours. In the present article we show a clear difference in priority and development of restore and protect motives over time. Our experiment reveals that shame mainly motivates approach behaviour to restore the damaged self, but that this restore motive decreases when situational factors make it too risky or difficult to restore. In contrast, the motive to protect one's damaged self from further harm is not influenced by such situational factors. As a consequence, the approach behaviour that shame activates may change over time. These findings add to our understanding of the motivational processes and behaviours following from shame.
Earlier theories on humour assume that funniness stems from the incongruity resolution of the surprising punchline and thus an insight into the joke's meaning. Applying recent psychological theorising that insight itself draws on processing fluency being the ease and speed with which mental content is processed, it is predicted that increasing the fluency of processing the punchline of a joke increases funniness. In Experiments 1 and 2, significant nouns from the punchlines or from the beginnings of jokes were presented before a joke was rated in funniness. Pre-exposing punchline words 15 minutes and even only 1 minute before the eventual joke led to increased funniness ratings. In contrast, pre-exposing punchline words directly before a joke led to decreased funniness ratings. Furthermore, pre-exposing the beginning of a joke 1 minute before the joke had no effects on funniness. Experiment 3 ruled out exposure-facilitated punchline anticipation as alternative mechanism, and Experiment 4 replicated this fluency effect with typing font as manipulation. These findings also show that pre-exposing a punchline, which in common knowledge should spoil a joke, can actually increase funniness under certain conditions.
Dual process accounts of affective learning state that the learning of likes and dislikes reflects a learning mechanism that is distinct from the one reflected in expectancy learning, the learning of signal relationships, and has different empirical characteristics. Affective learning, for example, is said not to be affected by: (a) extinction training; (b) occasion setting; (c) cue competition; and (d) awareness of the CS-US contingencies. These predictions were tested in a series of experiments that employed simple Pavlovian conditioning procedures. Neutral visual pictures of geometric shapes, or tactile conditional stimuli (CS) were paired with aversive electrotactile unconditional stimuli (US). Dependent measures were physiological (skin conductance, blink startle modulation) or verbal (US expectancy, on-line and off-line ratings of CS pleasantness). Different combinations of these dependent measures were employed across different experiments in an attempt to assess affective and expectancy learning simultaneously. Changes in CS pleasantness as indexed by ratings or blink startle modulation were readily observed. However, contrary to the predictions from dual-process accounts, results indicated that acquired CS unpleasantness is subject to extinction, occasion setting, cue competition, and not found in absence of CS-US contingency awareness.
We investigated the interaction between endogenous and exogenous attention for the processing of emotional stimuli in individuals with high social anxiety using accuracy rates. Following the presentation of an endogenous cue at the centre, exogenous cues (i.e., angry and neutral faces) were presented at peripheral locations. Subsequently, non-emotional masked targets were presented, and the participants were instructed to discriminate between the targets. With respect to exogenous attention, high socially anxious people exhibited higher accuracy when the angry face and target appeared on the same side than when they appeared on different sides, whereas low socially anxious people did not exhibit such effects. On the other hand, different abilities of endogenous attention were not observed between high and low socially anxious people. These results suggest that exogenous attention is biased towards threat in high socially anxious people.
Social anxiety is theorised to arise from sustained over-activation of a mammalian evolved system for detecting and responding to social threat with corresponding diminished opportunities for attaining the pleasure of safe attachments. Emotional forecasting data from two holidays were used to test the hypothesis that greater social anxiety would be associated with decreased expectations of positive affect (PA) and greater anticipated negative affect (NA) on a holiday marked by group celebration (St. Patrick's Day) while being associated with greater predicted PA for daters on a romantic holiday (Valentine's Day). Participants completed symptom reports, made affective forecasts and provided multiple affect reports throughout each holiday. Higher levels of social anxiety were associated with greater anticipated PA for Valentine's Day daters, but lower experienced PA on the holiday; this was not found for trait anxiety and depression. Alternatively, trait anxiety, depression and social anxiety were associated with less predicted PA for St. Patrick's Day, greater anticipated NA and diminished experienced PA/greater NA during the holiday. Results are discussed in light of perceived hope for rewarding safe emotional contact for those daters in contrast to the greater possibility for social threat associated with group celebration typical of St. Patrick's Day.
Even without explicit positive or negative reinforcement, experiences may influence preferences. According to the affective feedback in hypotheses testing account preferences are determined by the accuracy of hypotheses: correct hypotheses evoke positive affect, while incorrect ones evoke negative affect facilitating changes of hypotheses. Applying this to visual search, we suggest that accurate search should lead to more positive ratings of targets than distractors, while for errors targets should be rated more negatively. We test this in two experiments using time-limited search for a conjunction of gender and tint of faces. Accurate search led to more positive ratings for targets as compared to distractors or targets following errors. Errors led to more negative ratings for targets than for distractors. Critically, eye tracking revealed that the longer the fixation dwell times in target regions, the higher the target ratings for correct responses, and the lower the ratings for errors. The longer observers look at targets, the more positive their ratings if they answer correctly, and less positive, following errors. The findings support the affective feedback account and provide the first demonstration of negative effects on liking ratings following errors in visual search.
This research examines how women's sexual orientation guides the accuracy of judgements of other women. One hundred ten judges (67 straight and 43 lesbian women) watched videotapes of 9 targets (4 straight and 5 lesbian) and made judgements about the targets' thoughts, emotions, personality, and sexual orientation. Accuracy scores were created for each judge by comparing judgements to criterion data gathered about targets. Straight judges were significantly more accurate at judging thoughts and marginally more accurate at judging emotions compared to lesbian judges. There were no significant differences in judging personality. Straight targets' thoughts and personality were more easily assessed than lesbian targets' while lesbians' emotions were more easily judged than straight targets'. Lesbian judges were more accurate at judging sexual orientation regardless of their tendency to categorize women as lesbian compared to straight judges. Findings support past research on the accurate perception of sexual orientation and contribute to understanding how sexual orientation guides person perception.
Neutral memories unbind from their emotional acquisition context when sleep is allowed the night after learning and testing takes place after two additional nights of sleep. However, mood-dependent memory (MDM) effects are not abolished after a restricted sleep episode mostly featuring non rapid-eye-movement (NREM) or rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Here, we tested whether (1) one night of sleep featuring several NREM-REM sleep cycles is sufficient to suppress MDM effects and (2) a neutral mood is a sufficiently contrasting state to induce MDM effects, i.e. interfere with the recall of information learned in happy or sad states. Results disclosed MDM effects both in the post-learning sleep and wake conditions, with better recall in congruent than incongruent emotional contexts. Our findings suggest that the emotional unbinding needs several consecutive nights of sleep to be complete, and that even subtle mood changes are sufficient to produce MDM effects.
Previous studies have found that acts of self-control like emotion regulation deplete blood glucose levels. The present experiment investigated the hypothesis that the extent to which people's blood glucose levels decline during emotion regulation attempts is influenced by whether they believe themselves to be good or poor at emotion control. We found that although good and poor emotion regulators were equally able to achieve positive and negative moods, the blood glucose of poor emotion regulators was reduced after performing an affect-improving task, whereas the blood glucose of good emotion regulators remained unchanged. As evidence suggests that glucose is a limited energy resource upon which self-control relies, the implication is that good emotion regulators are able to achieve the same positive mood with less cost to their self-regulatory resource. Thus, depletion may not be an inevitable consequence of engaging in emotion regulation.
Although laughter plays an essential part in emotional vocal communication, little is known about the acoustical correlates that encode different emotional dimensions. In this study we examined the acoustical structure of laughter sounds differing along four emotional dimensions: arousal, dominance, sender's valence, and receiver-directed valence. Correlation of 43 acoustic parameters with individual emotional dimensions revealed that each emotional dimension was associated with a number of vocal cues. Common patterns of cues were found with emotional expression in speech, supporting the hypothesis of a common underlying mechanism for the vocal expression of emotions.
Although arm flexion and extension have been implicated as conditioners of attitudes, recent work casts some doubt on the nature and strength of the coupling of these muscle contractions and stimulus evaluation. We propose that the elaborated contextual framing of flexion and extension actions is necessary for attitude acquisition. Results showed that when flexion and extension were disambiguated via elaborated contextual cues (i.e., framed as collect and discard within a foraging context), neutral stimuli processed under flexion were liked more than neutral stimuli processed under extension. However, when unelaborated framing was used (e.g., mere stimulus zooming effects), stimulus evaluation did not differ as a function of muscle contractions. These results suggest that neither arm contractions per se nor unelaborated framings are sufficient for action-based attitude acquisition, but that elaborated framings are necessary.
Counterfactual emotions, such as regret and relief, are considered important in daily-life choice behaviour, learning and emotion regulation. A prominent question is from which age counterfactual emotions develop. In this study, we compared a more "traditional" analysis with a latent-class analysis (LCA) that allows the study of individual differences and a more detailed assessment of counterfactual emotions. Four groups of children (5-6 years, 7-8 years, 9-10 years and 11-13 years) and a group of young adults performed a choice task in which they encountered a Regret situation (chosen option was worse than alternative), a Relief situation (chosen option was better than alternative) and a Baseline situation (chosen option was equal to alternative). Traditional analyses indicated regret and relief to be present from ages 7 to 8. In contrast, the LCA indicated that subgroups experiencing regret and relief were present in all age groups, although regret and relief subgroups increased with age. Moreover, analyses indicated that higher reasoning scores increased the probability to belong to regret and relief subgroups and that the experience of regret dependent on trial order, being more prominent in later trials. We conclude that an individual-difference approach can advance insight into emotional development.
Anxiety is characterised by a negative expectancy bias, such that anxious individuals report negatively distorted expectations about the future. Contrary to anxiety, ageing is characterised by a positivity effect, such that ageing is associated with a tendency to attend to and remember positive information, relative to negative information. The current study integrates these literatures to examine anxiety- and age-linked biases when thinking about the future. Participants (N=1,109) completed a procedure that involved reading valenced scenarios (positive, negative, or ambiguous) and then rating the likelihood of future valenced events occurring. Results suggest that ageing and anxiety have independent and opposing effects. Heightened anxiety was associated with a reduced expectancy for positive events, regardless of the scenarios' current emotional valence, whereas increased age was associated with an inflated expectancy for positive events, which was strongest when individuals were processing socially relevant or negative scenarios.
In comparison with other modalities, the recognition of emotion in music has received little attention. An unexplored question is whether and how emotion recognition in music changes as a function of ageing. In the present study, healthy adults aged between 17 and 84 years (N=114) judged the magnitude to which a set of musical excerpts (Vieillard et al., 2008) expressed happiness, peacefulness, sadness and fear/threat. The results revealed emotion-specific age-related changes: advancing age was associated with a gradual decrease in responsiveness to sad and scary music from middle age onwards, whereas the recognition of happiness and peacefulness, both positive emotional qualities, remained stable from young adulthood to older age. Additionally, the number of years of music training was associated with more accurate categorisation of the musical emotions examined here. We argue that these findings are consistent with two accounts on how ageing might influence the recognition of emotions: motivational changes towards positivity and, to a lesser extent, selective neuropsychological decline.
Anger and aggression on the road may sometimes appear unprovoked and unrelated to current driving circumstances. It is unclear whether such anger and aggression arises because of events prior to those circumstances in which anger is experienced and aggression is exhibited. In this study, time pressure and enforced following of a slowly moving vehicle were used to increase drivers' anger in order to assess whether affect and behaviour during a subsequent, non-provocative, drive would change accordingly. Ninety-six drivers drove twice in a simulated urban environment. During the first drive, oncoming traffic and a slowly moving lead vehicle required that half of the drivers travelled far slower than they would choose. During the second drive, drivers again followed slower vehicles and were required to respond to traffic events not encountered in the manipulation drive. Mood (Profile of Mood States) was assessed before and after each drive, and anger evaluations, arousal (heart rate) and behaviour (speed, lane position and collisions) were measured during drives. Anger increased and both mood and driving behaviour deteriorated in drivers exposed to slower lead vehicles, compared with control group drivers. These behavioural differences of speed and lane positioning carried over into the subsequent drive even to driving situations unlike those where provocation had previously occurred. Drivers who had previously been impeded later approached hazards with less caution, and attempted more dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. It is concluded that sometimes dangerous driving may result from anger provoked by circumstances other than those in which the behaviour is exhibited.
Participants completed single and dual rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) tasks. Across five experiments, either the mood of the participant or valence of the target was manipulated to create pairings in which the critical target was either mood congruent or mood noncongruent. When the second target (T2) in an RSVP stream was congruent with the participant's mood, performance was enhanced. This was true for happy and sad moods and in single- and dual-task conditions. In contrast, the effects of congruence varied when the focus was on the first target (T1). When in a sad mood and having attended to a sad T1, detection of a neutral T2 was impaired, resulting in a stronger attentional blink (AB). There was no effect of stimulus-mood congruence for T1 when in a happy mood. It was concluded that mood-congruence is important for stimulus detection, but that sadness uniquely influences post-identification processing when attention is first focused on mood-congruent information.
People perceive and organise their social world on the basis of their previous semantic knowledge as well as on the basis of their emotional responses. We tested the hypothesis that emotional response categorisation, namely the tendency to group stimuli on the basis of the emotion they evoke, increases across the lifespan. Young and older adults were asked to categorise target words and either conceptual or emotional response similarity could be used to perform the task. Results showed that older adults were more likely than younger adults to rely on emotional equivalence to categorise stimuli. In addition, current affective state was significantly related to emotional response categorisation. These findings are discussed in relation to recent models that propose a prominent role for emotions in the social life of older adults.
We studied the relationship between perceived social image and life satisfaction in four different cultural groups. One-hundred nine Indian (63 females, 46 males), 67 Pakistani/Bangladeshi (36 females, 31 males), 76 White British (43 females, 33 males), and 94 European Americans (43 females, 48 males) completed measures on the cultural importance of social image, positive and negative emotions, academic achievement, and perceived social image. Indian and Pakistani/Bangladeshi participants valued social image more than White British and European-American participants. Consistent with this value difference, a positive perceived social image predicted life satisfaction among Indian and Pakistani/Bangladeshi participants only. For these participants, perceived social image predicted life satisfaction above and beyond the effects of emotions and academic achievement. Academic achievement only predicted life satisfaction among White British and European Americans. Emotions were significant predictors of life satisfaction for all participants.
The current study tested whether the perception of angry faces is cross-culturally privileged over that of happy faces, by comparing perception of the offset of emotion in a dynamic flow of expressions. Thirty Chinese and 30 European-American participants saw movies that morphed an anger expression into a happy expression of the same stimulus person, or vice versa. Participants were asked to stop the movie at the point where they ceased seeing the initial emotion. As expected, participants cross-culturally continued to perceive anger longer than happiness. Moreover, anger was perceived longer in in-group than in out-group faces. The effects were driven by female rather than male targets. Results are discussed with reference to the important role of context in emotion perception.
Influences on the perception of affordances (i.e., opportunities for actions) have been primarily studied by manipulating the functional morphology of the body. However, affordances are not just determined by the functional morphology of the perceiver, but also by the physiological state of the perceiver. States of anxiety have been shown to lead to marked changes in individuals' physiological state and their behaviour. To assess the influence of emotional state on affordance perception, the perception of action capabilities in near space was examined after participants completed an anxiety-provoking task. Anxiety was induced immediately prior to tasks that assessed participants' perceived reaching ability in Experiment 1, grasping ability in Experiment 2, and the ability to pass their hands through apertures in Experiment 3. Results indicated that those participants who experienced changes in anxiety underestimated their reaching, grasping, and passing ability compared to non-anxious participants. In other words, anxious participants were more conservative in their estimations of their action capabilities. These results suggest that anxiety influences the perception for affordances in near space and are consistent with the notion that anxiety induces withdrawal behaviours.
Emotions are for action, but action styles in emotional episodes may vary across cultural contexts. Based on culturally different models of agency, we expected that those who engage in European-American contexts will use more influence in emotional situations, while those who engage in East-Asian contexts will use more adjustment. European-American (N=60) and Asian-American (N=44) college students reported their action style during emotional episodes four times a day during a week. Asian Americans adjusted more than European Americans, whereas both used influence to a similar extent. These cultural differences in action style varied across types of emotion experienced. Moreover, influencing was associated with life satisfaction for European Americans, but not for Asian Americans.
Action orientation is a volitional mode that promotes flexible self-regulation of emotional and motivational states; state orientation represents the conceptually opposite volitional mode that promotes fixation on (particularly negative) emotional and motivational states (Kuhl & Beckmann, 1994a). The present research investigated the link between action versus state orientation and implicit emotion regulation under demanding conditions. After inducing a demanding context, action-oriented participants displayed reduced affective priming effects of negative primes relative to state-oriented individuals (Studies 1-3). Action versus state orientation did not moderate affective priming effects of positive prime words (Studies 1-3). Effects of action versus state orientation emerged only for a limited number of trials (Study 2) and were reversed under low-demanding conditions (Study 3). These findings support the notion that implicit emotion regulation is closely linked to volitional action control.
The broaden‐and‐build theory (Fredrickson, 199819.
Fredrickson , BL . (1998). What good are positive emotions?. Review of General Psychology, 2: 300–319. [CrossRef], [PubMed]View all references, 200121.
Fredrickson , BL . (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden‐and‐build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56: 218–226. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references) hypothesises that positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought‐action repertoires. Two experiments with 104 college students tested these hypotheses. In each, participants viewed a film that elicited (a) amusement, (b) contentment, (c) neutrality, (d) anger, or (e) anxiety. Scope of attention was assessed using a global‐local visual processing task (Experiment 1) and thought‐action repertoires were assessed using a Twenty Statements Test (Experiment 2). Compared to a neutral state, positive emotions broadened the scope of attention in Experiment 1 and thought‐action repertoires in Experiment 2. In Experiment 2, negative emotions, relative to a neutral state, narrowed thought‐action repertoires. Implications for promoting emotional well‐being and physical health are discussed.
In the emotional spatial cueing task, a peripheral cue-either emotional or non-emotional-is presented before target onset. A stronger cue validity effect with an emotional relative to a non-emotional cue (i.e., more efficient responding to validly cued targets relative to invalidly cued targets) is taken as an indication of emotional modulation of attentional processes. However, results from previous emotional spatial cueing studies are not consistent. Some studies find an effect at the validly cued location (shorter reaction times compared to a non-emotional cue), whereas other studies find an effect at the invalidly cued location (longer reaction times compared to a non-emotional cue). In the current paper, we explore which parameters affect emotional modulation of the cue validity effect in the spatial cueing task. Results from five experiments in healthy volunteers led to the conclusion that a threatening spatial cue did not affect attention processes but rather indicate that motor processes are affected. A possible mechanism might be that a strong aversive cue stimulus decreases reaction times by means of stronger action preparation. Consequently, in case of a spatially congruent response with the peripheral cue, a stronger cue validity effect could be obtained due to stronger response priming. The implications for future research are discussed.
In four experiments conducted on the world wide web, subjects evaluated the priority of policies presented separately or presented jointly in pairs, and/or reported their emotional responses to the problem that each policy addressed. Strength of emotional responses was more strongly related to priority when policies were presented separately than when they were presented jointly. We found evidence for one mechanism that could produce these results: joint presentation increases the evaluability of the policies, thus increasing the influence of cognitive evaluations of importance on priority judgements, and reducing the relative influence of emotional responses. We also found evidence that importance can affect emotional responses. We found no evidence for other mechanisms in which the emotions evoked by one item spread to the other item in joint presentation. The role of evaluability points to the applied value of evaluating policies in the context of alternatives.
Individuals may appraise internal states positively or negatively. Positive appraisals involve desiring or pursuing the state or experience, while negative appraisals involve dreading or avoiding the experience. The extent to which individuals make extreme positive or negative appraisals of high, activated, energetic states might determine whether they experience symptoms of high or low mood. This study extends the existing literature by considering the role of opposing appraisals and beliefs about the same internal states and by controlling for the potential correlation between depression and activation symptoms. Extreme, positive and negative appraisals of activated mood states related distinctly to experiences of activation and depression symptoms respectively, in an analogue sample (n=323). Positive appraisals of activated internal states were uniquely associated with elevated activation and hypomania symptoms. Negative appraisals of the same states were uniquely associated with elevated depression symptoms. Opposing appraisals of internal states may underlie mood swing symptoms.
An immense body of research demonstrates that emotional facial expressions can be processed unconsciously. However, it has been assumed that such processing takes place solely on a global valence-based level, allowing individuals to disentangle positive from negative emotions but not the specific emotion. In three studies, we investigated the specificity of emotion processing under conditions of limited awareness using a modified variant of an affective priming task. Faces with happy, angry, sad, fearful, and neutral expressions were presented as masked primes for 33 ms (Study 1) or 14 ms (Studies 2 and 3) followed by emotional target faces (Studies 1 and 2) or emotional adjectives (Study 3). Participants' task was to categorise the target emotion. In all three studies, discrimination of targets was significantly affected by the emotional primes beyond a simple positive versus negative distinction. Results indicate that specific aspects of emotions might be automatically disentangled in addition to valence, even under conditions of subjective unawareness.
This study investigated gender differences in two key processes involved in anxiety, arousal and attentional bias towards threat. Arousal was assessed using salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), a biomarker of noradrenergic arousal and attention bias using a dot-probe task. Twenty-nine women and 27 men completed the dot-probe task and provided saliva samples before and after a stress induction [cold pressor stress (CPS) test]. Women displayed a significant increase in arousal (sAA) following the stressor compared to men, who displayed a significant reduction in arousal. Reaction time data revealed a significant avoidance of threat in women at baseline, but a significant change to an attention bias towards threat following the stressor. Men did not significantly respond to the stressor in terms of attentional bias. These findings suggest that women are more reactive to a stressor than men, and display an initial avoidance response to threat, but an attentional bias towards threat following stress.
Assessments of acute stress using self-report questionnaires can be biased by various factors, including social desirability. The present study used a bias-free method, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), to assess stress. Unlike a previous study (Schmukle & Egloff, 2004) in which acute stress was not detected with the IAT, this study manipulated stress by generating test anxiety and threatening self-esteem. The results revealed that the IAT effect was greater in the high-stress group than in the low-stress group. Participants in the high-stress group associated their concept of self with the concept of anxiety more strongly than did those in the low-stress group. This result suggests that the IAT is a sensitive measure for detecting group differences in acute stress.
In two experiments we measured the effects of 7.5% CO(2) inhalation on the interpretation of video footage recorded on closed circuit television (CCTV). As predicted, inhalation of 7.5% CO(2) was associated with increases in physiological and subjective correlates of anxiety compared with inhalation of medical air (placebo). Importantly, when in the 7.5% CO(2) condition, participants reported the increased presence of suspicious activity compared with placebo (Experiment 1), a finding that was replicated and extended (Experiment 2) with no concomitant increase in the reporting of the presence of positive activity. These findings support previous work on interpretative bias in anxiety but are novel in terms of how the anxiety was elicited, the nature of the interpretative bias, and the ecological validity of the task.
A growing body of research suggests that pride and shame are associated with distinct, cross-culturally recognised nonverbal expressions, which are spontaneously displayed in situations of success and failure, respectively. Here, we review these findings, then offer a theoretical account of the adaptive benefits of these displays. We argue that both pride and shame expressions function as social signals that benefit both observers and expressers. Specifically, pride displays function to signal high status, which benefits displayers by according them deference from others, and benefits observers by affording them valuable information about social-learning opportunities. Shame displays function to appease others after a social transgression, which benefits displayers by allowing them to avoid punishment and negative appraisals, and observers by easing their identification of committed group members and followers.
An adaptive cognition approach to evaluative priming is not compatible with the view that the entire process is automatically determined by prime stimulus valence alone. In addition to the evaluative congruity of individual prime-target pairs, an adaptive regulation function should be sensitive to the base rates of positive and negative stimuli as well as to the perceived contingency between prime and target valence. The present study was particularly concerned with pseudocontingent inferences that offer a proxy for the assessment of contingencies from degraded or incomplete stimulus input. As expected, response latencies were shorter for the more prevalent target valence and for evaluatively congruent trials. However, crucially, the congruity effect was eliminated and overridden by pseudocontingencies inferred from the stimulus environment. These strategic inferences were further enhanced when the task called for the evaluation of both prime stimuli and target stimuli.
The present study examined whether cognitive flexibility in the processing of emotional material (i.e., affective flexibility) predicts the use of rumination in response to negative events in daily life. One hundred fifty-seven undergraduate participants completed daily diaries for six consecutive days. Affective flexibility was measured with a novel task-switching paradigm using emotional pictures. Results show that affective inflexibility when switching away from processing the emotional meaning of negative material was associated with increased use of rumination in daily life. In contrast, affective inflexibility when switching away from processing the emotional meaning of positive material was related to decreased use of rumination. Importantly, affective flexibility predicted use of rumination beyond non-affective measures of executive functioning. This is the first study to show that inflexibility is not uniformly associated with increased rumination but that inflexibility in the processing of positive material can predict lower levels of rumination.
Multiple theories of cognitive vulnerability to depression have been proposed, each focusing on different aspects of negative cognition and utilising different measures of risk. Various methods of integrating such multiple indices of risk have been examined in the literature, and each demonstrates some promise. Yet little is known about the interrelations among these methods, or their incremental validity in predicting changes in depression. The present study compared three integrative models of cognitive vulnerability: the additive, weakest link, and keystone models. Support was found for each model as predictive of depression over time, but only the weakest link model demonstrated incremental utility in predicting changes in depression over the other models. We also explore the correlation between these models and each model's unique contribution to predicting onset of depressive symptoms.
Using a subliminal priming lexical decision task, the present research investigated whether individuals who show negative implicit evaluations of an ex-partner immediately after a break-up show superior post-break-up emotional adjustment. As expected, individuals whose reaction times indicated negative implicit evaluations of their ex-partner showed reduced depressive affect immediately after the break-up. Individuals who did not initiate their break-up demonstrated less negative implicit evaluations of their ex-partners as well as more depressive affect. Finally, increased negative implicit evaluations of ex-partners over a one-month period were associated with corresponding improvements in adjustment. The findings demonstrate a critical role for implicit evaluations in post-break-up adjustment.