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Investigating emotion and reward processing using an associative matching task.

Denholm-Smith, T., 2023. Investigating emotion and reward processing using an associative matching task. Masters Thesis (Masters). Bournemouth University.

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DENHOLM-SMITH, Toby_M.Res._2023.pdf
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Evidence highlights a unique preference for stimuli with an emotional or rewarding connotation, compared to stimuli with no emotional or rewarding connotation. Known as a prioritisation effect, this phenomenon leads to enhanced memory, attention, reaction time and accurate responses to emotional and rewarding stimuli in participants. However, despite emotion and reward processing being well-documented in the literature, the relationship between processes is still largely unknown. The current research aims to address this issue and examine the relationship between reward and emotion processing through prioritisation effects. We used an associative matching task (AMT) where a basic geometrical shape was associatively tagged to motivationally significant information (e.g., a word signified by reward value or emotional valence). A sample of fifty adults (43 females; 6 males; 1 non- binary) with a mean age of 19.7 years old were recruited in the primary dataset. Results revealed two significant prioritisation effects, in the Medium reward-value (£25) and in the positive emotion-valence (happy) conditions, indicating that response time and accuracy scores were meaningful for Medium reward-value and Positive-valence conditions. However, the magnitude of positive emotion prioritisation effects was not directly related to the level of rewarding prioritisation effects. These findings were validated using an independent dataset that followed an identical experimental design as the primary dataset that consisted of fifty adults (44 females; 6 males) with a mean age of 20.7 years. Results in the independent dataset were similar to the findings in the primary dataset, with differences only occurring in regard to the magnitude of prioritisation effects in the reward condition. Significant prioritisation effects were discovered in the High reward-value (£50) and Positive emotion-valence conditions. The findings suggest that the processes of emotion and reward demonstrate some relationship, with the magnitude of motivational stimuli playing an important role. Implications of the present findings can be applied to various contexts including educational and clinical interventions to offer improved tailored treatments by considering both emotion and reward processes.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Emotion-processing; Reward-processing; Relationship; Behavioural-level
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39282
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:18 Dec 2023 13:29
Last Modified:18 Dec 2023 13:29


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