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Authors: GOH JIA XIN
Keywords: unconscious priming, emotional valence, word recognition
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2018
Citation: GOH JIA XIN (2018-04-13). UNCONSCIOUS PROCESSING OF EMOTION WORDS. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Emotional valence is defined as the intrinsic attractiveness or averseness of an event, object or situation, rated on the dimension of ‘pleasantness’. Current research suggests a split between two competing theoretical models regarding the effects of emotional valence in word recognition. The automatic vigilance model posits that negative words are processed more slowly than neutral and positive words because threatening stimuli hold attention for longer periods. The model of motivated attention suggests that negative and positive words are processed more quickly than neutral words because they activate action through avoidance and approach motivations respectively. However, the unconscious mechanisms underlying emotional valence effects in word recognition have not been well-studied in the literature. The present study aims to better adjudicate between the two models by having participants do a masked priming lexical decision task, with emotional valence words as masked primes and neutral words as targets. Results show that neutral target words preceded by masked negative primes elicited the fastest responses, followed by masked neutral primes, then masked positive primes. Possible explanations for this pattern of results are discussed.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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