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Early adolescents show sustained susceptibility to cognitive interference by emotional distractors

Heim, Sabine, Ihssen, Niklas, Hasselhorn, Marcus and Keil, Andreas 2013. Early adolescents show sustained susceptibility to cognitive interference by emotional distractors. Cognition & Emotion 27 (4) , pp. 696-706. 10.1080/02699931.2012.736366

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A child's ability to continuously pay attention to a cognitive task is often challenged by distracting events. Distraction is especially detrimental in a learning or classroom environment in which attended information is typically associated with establishing skills and knowledge. Here we report a study examining the effect of emotional distractors on performance in a subsequent visual lexical decision task in 11- to 13-year-old students (n=30). Lexical decisions about neutral verbs and verb-like pseudowords (i.e., targets) were analysed as a function of the preceding distractor type (pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant photos) and the picture–target stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA; 200 or 600 ms). Across distractor categories, emotionally arousing pictures prolonged decisions about word targets when compared to neutral pictures, irrespective of the SOA. The present results demonstrate that similar to adults, early adolescent students exhibit sustained susceptibility to cognitive interference by irrelevant emotional events.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Attention capture, Emotional distraction, Lexical decision
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0269-9931
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 03:29

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