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OS_03. Emotions

Friday, September 30th,   2011 [10:50 - 11:50]


OS_03.1 - Talking emotions: Evidence for an articulatory feedback hypothesis

Rummer, R. & Schweppe, J.

University of Erfurt

In literature on sound symbolism, it is suggested that /i/ (as in peace) is associated with positive words and /o/ is associated with negative words. We tested the hypothesis that this is due to the face muscle activation involved in articulating these vowels (articulatory feedback hypothesis). Articulating /i/ contracts the same muscles as smiling (i.e., the zygomaticus major muscle, ZMM) and should thus increase positive feelings, while articulating /o/ prevents smiling (by contracting the orbicularis oris muscle, OOM). In the first experiment we demonstrated that people who articulated /i/ (once per second) while reading cartoons perceived them as funnier than people who concurrently articulated /o/ (once per second). (In contrast, hearing /i/ or /o/ while looking at the cartoons did not affect the funniness ratings.) In a second experiment, we demonstrated that pseudowords including smile vowels (i.e., vowels whose articulation contracts the ZMM) are rated as more pleasant than pseudowords with frown vowels (i.e., vowels whose articulation contracts the OOM) when they are read aloud, but not when they are just heard, as should be the case based on existing sound symbolism theories. In sum, our findings clearly support the articulatory feedback hypothesis.

OS_03.2 - Effect of perspective modulation on performance of a detection task: a mental imagery study

Mazzietti, A. & Koenig, O.

Université Lumière Lyon 2

The aim of the present study was to build an emotional induction paradigm using mental imagery in order to investigate the effect of perspective modulation on the performance of a detection task. In the first phase, participants were asked to evaluate various pictures representing emotional elements so as to determine which elements evoked the most emotions for them. These elements were inserted into a standardized scenario in which perspective was manipulated. Perspective could be internal (participant as actor) or external (participant as witness). In the second phase, participants were presented with these personalized induction scenarios to imagine for thirty seconds. A detection task was given to them immediately afterwards. Mental images were then evaluated in terms of valence, relevance, intensity, impact and quality. Results showed a significant effect of perspective modulation only for pleasant scenarios. Reaction times were faster for external perspective compared to internal perspective in pleasant condition. Pleasant stimuli presented in an external perspective were rated (valence, etc.) as less emotional than other stimuli. Unpleasant stimuli were both considered as equally emotional regardless the perspective. Results were explained using the appraisal theory and the concept of relevance, which perspective seems to modulate differently depending on the valence.

OS_03.3 - Threat in the spotlight. Storage of emotional content in short term memor

Olszanowski, M. 1 , Balas, R. 1, 2 & Klyszejko, Z. 3, 1

1 Warsaw School of Social Sciences & Humanities
2 Polish Academy of Science, Institute of Psychology
3 Information Processing Center, Visual Cognition Research Department

Presented studies examine the effect of emotional content on short-term memory (STM) storage. Our basic assumptions were made according to Cowan model of working memory - WM (2001), as we hypothesized that emotional stimuli would have higher activation which should result with better and longer availability for the central executive system. Additionally we expected that emotional content (especially negative or dangerous) can possibly focus the attentional resources (as predicted by “emotion drive attention” hypothesis - Ohman, Flykt, Esteves, 2001), which may lead do poorer accessibility of other/neutral content stored in STM. To test this we asked participants to perform a set of modified Sternberg tasks (1966) using faces or pictures as stimuli. Across the experimental trials we manipulated the type of stimuli (facial display or picture emotionality), that appeared within the short lists of stimuli (faces or pictures) presented one after another. The data support general conclusion that emotional (especially threatening) stimuli have increased short term accessibility that also impair other stimuli storage and memory activation (lower recognition of items appearing next in the row). This results stands along with other data and support general observation about attention-grabbing power of negative stimuli and automatic vigilance for threat.

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