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The costs and benefits of processing emotional stimuli during rapid serial visual presentation

Ihssen, Niklas and Keil, Andreas 2009. The costs and benefits of processing emotional stimuli during rapid serial visual presentation. Cognition & Emotion 23 (2) , pp. 296-326. 10.1080/02699930801987504

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Using a dual-target identification task during rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), we examined facilitation and interference effects exerted by emotional stimuli. Emotionally arousing first targets (T1s) were encoded with higher accuracy than neutral T1s. At the same time, identification of a second neutral target (T2) was impaired reflecting a failure of disengaging attention from arousing T1s. Similar interference was triggered by arousing filler stimuli that were not voluntarily searched for in the RSVP stream (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we showed that interference is reduced (though facilitation for arousing T1s is maintained) when the second task itself involves variations in emotional arousal. Vice versa, when arousal associated with the T2 stimulus was predictable, interference recurred (Experiment 4). Our findings indicate that the perceived emotional intensity of a stimulus is a determinant of successful identification during RSVP: Encoding of arousing stimuli is reliably facilitated. Interference effects with subsequent processing arise independently and are strongly modulated by the overall task context and specific processing strategies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0269-9931
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 02:32

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