Positive and negative emotion enhances the processing of famous faces in a semantic judgment task.

Bate, S., Haslam, C., Hodgson, T. L., Jansari, A., Gregory, N. J. and Kay, J. M., 2010. Positive and negative emotion enhances the processing of famous faces in a semantic judgment task. Neuropsychology, 24 (1), 84 - 89 .

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DOI: 10.1037/a0017202

Abstract

Previous work has consistently reported a facilitatory influence of positive emotion in face recognition (e.g., D'Argembeau, Van der Linden, Comblain, & Etienne, 2003). However, these reports asked participants to make recognition judgments in response to faces, and it is unknown whether emotional valence may influence other stages of processing, such as at the level of semantics. Furthermore, other evidence suggests that negative rather than positive emotion facilitates higher level judgments when processing nonfacial stimuli (e.g., Mickley & Kensinger, 2008), and it is possible that negative emotion also influences latter stages of face processing. The present study addressed this issue, examining the influence of emotional valence while participants made semantic judgments in response to a set of famous faces. Eye movements were monitored while participants performed this task, and analyses revealed a reduction in information extraction for the faces of liked and disliked celebrities compared with those of emotionally neutral celebrities. Thus, in contrast to work using familiarity judgments, both positive and negative emotion facilitated processing in this semantic-based task. This pattern of findings is discussed in relation to current models of face processing.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0894-4105
Uncontrolled Keywords:face processing ; semantics ; emotion ; affect ; eye movements
Subjects:Psychology
Group:Faculty of Science and Technology
ID Code:20618
Deposited By: Dr Sarah Bate
Deposited On:06 Feb 2013 15:27
Last Modified:17 Sep 2014 08:24

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