Bad words prevail: Negatively charged Chinese characters accelerate attentional selection and preoccupy cognitive resources for consolidation

Shih-Yu Lo*, Yuan Sheng Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have produced contradictory findings regarding whether emotion exerts facilitative effects or inhibitory effects on perception. In the present study, we hypothesized that attention can be separated into the initial selection stage and the latter consolidation stage, and emotion plays a different role in each of these two stages. To test this hypothesis, we adopted the dual-stream rapid serial visual presentation paradigm (Goodbourn & Holcombe, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41(2), 364–384, 2015), which provided separate measurements for selection latency (how delayed the attentional selection process is) and efficacy (how much information can be successfully consolidated for conscious report). The results suggested emotion’s dual role on perception. Firstly, the presence of negatively charged visual targets (which were Chinese characters in the present study) accelerated attention selection, and the acceleration effect could spread to different locations in the visual field. Secondly, negatively charged characters preoccupied attentional resources for consolidation, yielding location-specific facilitative and inhibitory effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Attention: selective
  • Visual perception
  • Visual working memory

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