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Friday, September 30th,   2011 [17:20 - 19:20]

PS_1.025 - Interference effects in recognition of facial expressions and feelings

Macizo, P. 1 , Boldini, A. 2 & Herrera, A. 3

1 Departamento de Psicología Experimental y, Fisiología del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
2 Departament de Psicologia Bàsica; Facultat de Psicologia; Universitat de Barcelona; Barcelona; Spain
3 Departamento de Psicología Básica y Metodología, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain

In order to decide whether someone is happy or sad, we evaluate his/her facial expression. Facial expressions are universal and each emotional state can be measured on the basis of several facial dimensions (Ekman, 2009). There are two features that mainly determine the recognition of face expressions and feelings: mouth and eyes (Ambadar, Cohn, & Reed, 2009). When a person is happy or sad, morphological characteristics of mouth and eyes follow a specific configuration based on several parameters (opening, amplitude, symmetry). In this study we evaluate the consequences of presenting emotionally incongruent parameters of facial expressions. Participants were required to judge whether a person was happy or sad by evaluating eyes expressions. There were congruent faces (smiling eyes and mouth), control faces (smiling eyes and neutral mouth) and incongruent faces (smiling eyes and sad mouth). Relative to control faces, participants showed better recognition performance with congruent faces and worse recognition performance with incongruent faces. These results suggest that people consider eyes and mouth when recognizing feelings and that they get confused when face dimensions are incongruent.

PS_1.026 - Emotional anticipation in high-functioning autism

Jellema, T. & Palumbo, L.

Department of Psychology, Hull University, Hull, United Kingdom

Contributions of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ influences to perceptual judgments of dynamic facial expressions were explored in adults with either typical development (TD) or Asperger’s syndrome (AS). We examined the roles played by basic perceptual processes (such as sequential contrast effects and adaptation) and by ’emotional anticipation’, i.e. the involuntary anticipation of the other’s emotional state of mind based on the immediately preceding perceptual history. Short video-clips of faces displaying emotional expressions (100% joy or 100% anger) that morphed into a (nearly) neutral expression were presented. Both TD and AS individuals judged the final expression of the joy-videos as slightly angry and the final expression of the anger-videos as slightly happy (‘overshoot’ bias). However, a change in identity of the actor just before the final neutral expression was reached removed the overshoot bias in the TD group, but not in the AS group. Another manipulation, involving neutral-to-emotion-to-neutral sequences, again differentiated between the TD and ASD participants. These findings suggest that in TD individuals but not in AS individuals, the perceptual judgments of other’s facial expressions are influenced by emotional anticipation (a low-level mindreading mechanism). Individuals with AS may have applied compensatory mechanisms.

PS_1.027 - Working memory updating and emotional intelligence

Orzechowski, J. 1 , Smieja, M. 2 & Asanowicz, D. 2

1 Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities
2 Jagiellonian University

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is defined as the ability to process emotional information; hence, its relation to elementary cognitive processes should be strong. However, to date empirical findings in this area are disappointing. According to our previous studies, showing that EI level was related to some WM measures when the task of emotional information updating was used, we assumed that EI could be related to more complex rather than elementary cognitive performance. The aim of the current research is to prove the relationship between working memory updating (WMU) and EI. WMU, understood as the ability to maintain relevant representations of information changing over time, has been successfully used to predict higher cognitive abilities (e.g. fluid intelligence level). Therefore, we suppose that efficiency of WMU concerning complex emotional information will be positively related to EI level. We used n-back task with neutral and emotional visual content (International Affective Picture System), and paper-and-pencil test of EI in the study.

PS_1.028 - Negative neighbours are activated faster than neutral ones: Evidence from a generation task

Mathey, S. 1 , Dumay, N. 2 & Faurous, W. 1

1 Bordeaux University, France
2 BCBL, Spain

This research investigates whether the emotional attributes of lexical neighbours affect orthographic processing. Participants were presented with pseudoword strings that had only one orthographic neighbour which participants had to retrieve and articulate as soon as possible. This unique neighbour had either a negative and arousing, or a neutral and nonarousing content (e.g., leprasy-leprosy vs. galixy-galaxy). The two conditions were matched on many lexical and sublexical variables (i.e., grammatical class, length, frequency, phonological neighbourhood and bigram frequency). To test the generality of the findings, the experiment was carried out in both English and French. Given that the generation task required identifying the neighbour, we predicted that the faster and stronger activation of negative over neutral neighbours would return better performance for pseudowords that have an emotionally negative neighbour. This is exactly what we found, even after partialling the variance due to differences in onset consonants. Furthermore, the facilitation was enhanced in blocked compared to mixed presentations. Findings are interpreted in an interactive-activation model of visual word recognition and production incorporating an affective system. Ncount= 172

PS_1.029 - The dot-probe task with emotional faces reveals an attentional bias toward threat stimuli and allows to predict emotional vulnerability

Tedesco, A. 1 , Croisile, B. 2 & Reynaud, E. 1

1 Laboratoire EMC - Université Lyon 2 - Lyon - FRANCE
2 Service de Neuropsychologie - Hopital Neurologique Pierre Wertheimer - Bron - FRANCE

Research showed that high trait anxiety (HTA) is associated with an attentional bias toward threat stimuli. This bias could be a vulnerability factor for stress but literature lacks of empirical evidence. Using the emotional Stroop task, MacLeod and Hagan (1992) and Van den Hout et. Al. (1995) found that subjects showing attentional bias for subthreshold threat stimuli, reported more distress under stressful conditions. Because of its ability to study the attentional allocation resources, the dot-probe task could test the same prediction more accurately. Thus, using this task with neutral and threatening faces, the aim of our study was to a) replicate results showing that HTA exhibit an attentional bias toward threatening stimuli b) address the prediction that processing bias toward threat stimuli contribute to vulnerability for stress. HTA and LTA subjects were exposed to pairs of faces presented for 5OO ms or 17 ms and subsequently masked. Subjects returned a week after and were exposed to a stress condition. Anxiety was assessed with two questionnaires (STAI, POMS). Our results show that the dot-probe task permits to replicate the awaited results on bias. This task is a good candidate for predicting the anxiety level of subjects under subsequent stressful conditions.

PS_1.030 - The effects of induced sadness on the orienting of attention

Pêcher, C. & Lemercier, C.

CLLE-LTC, University of Toulouse 2. Toulouse, France

In the present study, we further evaluated the impact of sadness on orienting, questioning the benefits and the costs of directing attention to an expected or unexpected location. In our experiment, participants were first induced either in a neutral state or sadness, with a combined vignettes and music procedure. Then, they performed the exogenous version of Posner’s orienting task, with or without a sad musical reinforcement. Analyses confirmed first that sadness was efficiently induced in participants, before performing the orienting task. In regard with RTs to Posner’s task, we observed deleterious effect of sadness on orienting. The major finding was a reduction of benefits related to the presentation of valid cues, for sad participants who listened to sad music during the task, compared to controls and sad participants (without music reinforcement). Costs due to the presentation of invalid cues remained similar in the three groups. Results are discussed with regard to the literature on emotion and cognition and specific sadness-related biases that operate on attention.

PS_1.031 - Affective ratings for spanish words belonging to three semantic categories

Moldovan, C. 1, 2 , Ferré, P. 1, 2 , Guasch, M. 1, 2 & Sánchez-Casas, R. 1, 2

1 Universitat Rovira i Virgili

In the last years, there has been an increasing interest in the study of the processing of emotional words. One of the questions of interest is to investigate the relationship between semantic and affective properties of words. Experimental paradigms such as semantic and affective priming have been used to address this question with tasks that can require the inclusion of words belonging to different semantic categories. There are several word databases that include affective ratings One of the most frequently used is the ANEW (Bradley & Lang, 1999), adapted to Spanish by Redondo et al. (2007). However, in this data base the words of different semantic categories are not equally represented and it may be difficult for researchers to find enough number of words belonging to specific categories. In this study we present affective ratings for 400 Spanish words that were not included in the ANEW. There were119 words referring to animals, 156 referring to objects and 125 related to persons. The norms were collected with 315 Spanish speakers who rated the words according to their valence, arousal, concreteness and familiarity. These ratings will help researchers to select stimuli for experiments where semantic and affective characteristics of words are manipulated.

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