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OS_18. Emotions

Saturday, October 01st,   2011 [10:50 - 11:50]


OS_18.1 - Association with positive outcome induces early effects in event-related brain potentials

Schacht, A. 1 , Adler, N. 2 , Guo, T. 3 & Sommer, W. 2

1 CRC Text Structures, University of Göttingen, Germany
2 Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
3 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, China

Emotional pictures, faces, or words elicit an early posterior negativity (EPN) in the event-related potential, starting around 200 to 400 ms, followed by a late positive complex (LPC). Occasionally, also very early effects of emotion (VEEEs) are seen between 50 and 150 ms. The present study examined whether VEEEs can be due to direct links established by reinforcement learning. In the learning session, participants learned to associate previously unknown Chinese words with monetary gain, loss, or neither. In the test session, they were required to distinguish the learned stimuli from novel distracters. Specific to stimuli associated with positive outcome a VEEE was observed around 150 ms and an LPC between 550 and 700 ms, whereas an EPN was absent. These results show that monetary gain can induce VEEEs, indicating that emotion effects in ERPs may come about in the absence of biologically preparedness and semantic meaning, merely by previous association with reward.

OS_18.2 - Emotion components and specificity of emotional inference

Gillioz, C. & Gygax, P.

Department of Psychology. University of Fribourg. Fribourg, Switzerland

In this study, we investigated if the mental representation of a character’s emotional response built during reading is elaborated in a way that mirrors emotion construct, as defined by Scherer’s (2005) emotion components. We manipulated the quality and the quantity of features of emotion components transmitted in emotional narratives according to the GRID instrument (Scherer, 2005). In the typical version of each narrative, the text included all emotion components qualified by their most typical features. In the similar version, the features of two components were congruent but not typical of the target emotion. In the filler version, two components were omitted. Surprisingly, results showed that target emotion sentences were read slower in the typical condition. However, sentences containing typical features were read faster than those similar ones. These results suggest that emotional inference is an incremental and constructive process and that readers rely on emotion components in order to elaborate a mental representation of the emotion described in the text. They also suggest that readers may construct specific emotion representations (different to the target emotions in our narratives) when presented with salient typical emotional features and keep more open representations of the emotion when the story conveys less typical features.

OS_18.3 - Semantic coherence judgments are automatic and enable exclusion judgments

Sweklej, J. 1 , Balas, R. 1, 2 , Pochwatko, G. 1, 2 & Godlewska, M. 1

1 Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities
2 Institute of Psychology Polish Academy of Sciences

Semantic coherence judgments were shown to rely on fluent processing of semantically related concepts. In four studies we investigated whether such processing requires attentional resources, depends on mood and provide basis for intuitive exclusion. We used Bowers et al.‘s (1990) task presenting triads of semantically related words with a commonly associated fourth concept (a solution). The task was to provide the solution and, if unable to do so, judge whether the triads were semantically coherent. We used a secondary task to investigate the automaticity of processes leading to coherence judgments. Attentional load decreased the insight to solutions whereas coherence judgments were unaffected (Exp. 1). Additional mood manipulation showed that negative mood interferes with processing of semantically related concepts suggesting that fluency is responsible for coherence judgments (Exp. 2). Next we introduced a fourth, unrelated, word into triads. The data showed participants’ ability to exclude the non-fitting word even though they could not provide the solution to the triad (Exp. 3). The accuracy of intuitive exclusion was enhanced by positive and inhibited by negative mood (Exp. 4). We conclude that coherence judgments rely on automatic and fluent processing of semantic associations and this fluency can be used in intuitive exclusion.

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