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The Effect of Emotion on the Invulnerability of Representations in Visual Working Memory

Author: LuJianGang
Tutor: ShenMoWei
School: Zhejiang University
Course: Applied Psychology
Keywords: visual working memory emotion state-driven stimulus-driven representation invulnerability
CLC: B842.3
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 41
Quote: 0
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Working memory stands crucial for all cognitive processes. Recently, the impact caused by emotions on cognitive processes provokes widespread interests among researchers. Emotional stimuli not only affect the processing of themselves, but also introduce influences on the processing of temporal- or spatial-relevant neutral stimuli. The present study focused on how emotional stimuli would affect the invulnerability of representations in visual working memory (VWM).Three experiments were designed, adopted the VWM paradigm with color squares as stimuli, to determine whether there is a performance difference on the anti-interference task between emotional-cued (e.g. neutral versus fearful) conditions. In Experiment 1, a modified change-detection task was employed to measure the VWM performance with interference of the updating arrays in differed emotional-cued conditions. Similar procedures were included in experiment 2, except that participants were instructed to memorize the updating arrays and ignore the memory arrays (Experiment 1). As a result, the different-interference explanation of the Experiment l’s result could be ruled out. Experiment 3, which excluded the updating arrays, examined whether emotional stimuli impact the baseline performance of the neutral object representations.The main findings are as follows:(1) With interference of the updating arrays, fearful cues led to an enhancement on the VWM performance compared to neutral cues;(2) Concerning the updating arrays, no significant performance difference was found between neutral and fearful cued condition;(3) No significant baseline performance difference was found between neutral and fearful cued condition when there were no updating arrays presented.Results in the present study revealed that emotional stimuli affected the invulnerability of VWM representations. That is, the emotional cues strengthened the VWM representations against interference, rather than raised the baseline performance.

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