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June 2022

Evaluative decision latencies mediated by induced affective states

Author(s): Dehouwer, J., Eelen, P.

Journal/Book: Behav Res Ther. 1996; 34: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England OX5 1GB. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 483-488.

Abstract: Recent priming studies (e.g. Hermans, De Houwer & Eelen, 1994, Cognition and Emotion, 8, 515-533) have demonstrated that response latencies to target stimuli are mediated by the affective relation between prime and target. The time needed to evaluate or pronounce targets is facilitated if preceded by similarly valenced primes, but is inhibited for trials on which prime and target have an opposite affective valence. These data suggest that information stored in memory is associatively linked with similarly evaluated information, through association with some general representation of goodness or badness. To investigate whether affective priming is merely one type of conventional semantic priming, or whether it is mediated by affective responses, the affective context provided by the primes was replaced in this study by the induction of an emotional state using a Musical Mood Induction procedure (Depression/Elation). Subjects had to evaluate target pictures as quickly as possible. The data revealed a significant Mood Change (More Depressed/Less Depressed/No Change)x Target Valence (Positive/Negative) interaction, indicating that emotional states can mediate evaluative response latencies to affectively valenced target stimuli. The results are interpreted in the context of a biphasic emotion theory, and are related to previous research on mood congruency effects on perceptual responses.

Note: Article D Hermans, Catholic Univ Leuven, Dept Psychol, Tiensestr 102, B-3000 Louvain, Belgium


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