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Cognition & Emotion

Olivier Morin, Alberto Acerbi
The presence of emotional words and content in stories has been shown to enhance a story's memorability, and its cultural success. Yet, recent cultural trends run in the opposite direction. Using the Google Books corpus, coupled with two metadata-rich corpora of Anglophone fiction books, we show a decrease in emotionality in English-speaking literature starting plausibly in the nineteenth century. We show that this decrease cannot be explained by changes unrelated to emotionality (such as demographic dynamics concerning age or gender balance, changes in vocabulary richness, or changes in the prevalence of literary genres), and that, in our three corpora, the decrease is driven almost entirely by a decline in the proportion of positive emotion-related words, while the frequency of negative emotion-related words shows little if any decline...
December 2, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Virginie Peschard, Eva Gilboa-Schechtman, Pierre Philippot
The majority of evidence on social anxiety (SA)-linked attentional biases to threat comes from research using facial expressions. Emotions are, however, communicated through other channels, such as voice. Despite its importance in the interpretation of social cues, emotional prosody processing in SA has been barely explored. This study investigated whether SA is associated with enhanced processing of task-irrelevant angry prosody. Fifty-three participants with high and low SA performed a dichotic listening task in which pairs of male/female voices were presented, one to each ear, with either the same or different prosody (neutral or angry)...
December 2, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Jun Moriya
Social anxiety is associated with attentional bias and working memory for emotional stimuli; however, the ways in which social anxiety affects cognitive functions involving non-emotional stimuli remains unclear. The present study focused on the role of attentional networks (i.e. alerting, orienting, and executive control networks) and visuospatial working memory capacity (WMC) for non-emotional stimuli in the context of social anxiety. One hundred and seventeen undergraduates completed questionnaires on social anxiety...
December 2, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Natalia M Garcia, Lori A Zoellner
Fear generalisation, a process by which conditioned fear spreads to similar but innocuous stimuli, is key in understanding why some individuals feel unsafe in objectively non-threatening situations. Both trait neuroticism and lack of predictability about the likelihood of feared consequences are associated with negative affect in the face of ambiguity and may increase the degree to which fear generalises. Undergraduates (N = 129) with varying degrees of neuroticism were randomised to either high- or low-instructional predictability conditions prior to fear acquisition...
November 28, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Julia Isacescu, Andriy Anatolievich Struk, James Danckert
Boredom proneness has been linked to various forms of cognitive and affective dysregulation including poor self-control and mind-wandering (MW), as well as depression and aggression. As such, understanding boredom and the associated cognitive and affective components of the experience, represents an important first step in combatting the consequences of boredom for psychological well-being. We surveyed 1928 undergraduate students on measures of boredom proneness, self-control, MW, depression and aggression to investigate how these constructs were related...
November 28, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Todd B Kashdan, James Doorley, Melissa C Stiksma, Matthew J Hertenstein
Physical touch is central to the emotional intimacy that separates romantic relationships from other social contexts. In this study of 256 adults (128 heterosexual couples, mean relationship length = 20.5 months), we examined whether individual differences in social anxiety influenced comfort with and avoidance of physical touch. Because of prior work on sex difference in touch use, touch comfort, and social anxiety symptoms and impairment, we explored sex-specific findings. We found evidence that women with greater social anxiety were less comfortable with touch and more avoidant of touch in same-sex friendships...
November 22, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Casady Bowman, Takashi Yamauchi
Nonlinguistic signals in the voice and musical instruments play a critical role in communicating emotion. Although previous research suggests a common mechanism for emotion processing in music and speech, the precise relationship between the two domains is unclear due to the paucity of direct evidence. By applying the adaptation paradigm developed by Bestelmeyer, Rouger, DeBruine, and Belin [2010. Auditory adaptation in vocal affect perception. Cognition, 117(2), 217-223. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.08.008 ], this study shows cross-domain aftereffects from vocal to musical sounds...
November 16, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
K Lira Yoon, Amanda M Kutz, Joelle LeMoult, Jutta Joormann
Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) engage in post-event processing, a form of perseverative thinking. Given that deficits in working memory might underlie perseverative thinking, we examined working memory in SAD with a particular focus on the effects of stimulus valence. SAD (n = 31) and healthy control (n = 20) participants either maintained (forward trials) or reversed (backward trials) in working memory the order of four emotional or four neutral pictures, and we examined sorting costs, which reflect the extent to which performance deteriorated on the backward trials compared to the forward trials...
November 16, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Suzanne C Parker, Haseeb Majid, Kate L Stewart, Anthony H Ahrens
Gratitude has been promoted as a beneficial emotional experience. However, gratitude is not universally experienced as positive. The current work examines whether an autonomous interpersonal style is associated with differential experience of gratitude. Study 1 found an inverse relationship between trait autonomy and both trait gratitude and positivity of response to receiving a hypothetical benefit from a friend. Study 2 replicated the finding that those higher in autonomy report less trait gratitude, and also demonstrated an inverse relationship between autonomy and valuing gratitude...
November 15, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Jolien Vanaelst, Adriaan Spruyt, Tom Everaert, Jan De Houwer
The evaluative conditioning (EC) effect refers to the change in the liking of a neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus, CS) due to its pairing with another stimulus (unconditioned stimulus, US). We examined whether the extinction rate of the EC effect is moderated by feature-specific attention allocation. In two experiments, CSs were abstract Gabor patches varying along two orthogonal, perceptual dimensions (i.e. spatial frequency and orientation). During the acquisition phase, one of these dimensions was predictive of the valence of the USs...
November 14, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Julia Groß, Ute J Bayen
Hindsight bias is the tendency to overestimate one's prior knowledge of facts or events once the actual facts or events are known. Several theoretical frameworks suggest that affective states might influence hindsight bias. Nondysphoric participants (n = 123, BDI ≤ 13) in negative or neutral mood, and dysphoric participants (n = 19, BDI > 13) generated and recalled answers to difficult knowledge questions. All groups showed hindsight bias, that is, their recalled estimates were closer to the correct answer when this answer was shown at recall...
November 14, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Roni Shafir, Tara Guarino, Ihno A Lee, Gal Sheppes
Evaluative contexts can be stressful, but relatively little is known about how different individuals who vary in responses to self-evaluation make emotion regulatory choices to cope in these situations. To address this gap, participants who vary in self-esteem gave an impromptu speech, rated how they perceived they had performed on multiple evaluative dimensions, and subsequently chose between disengaging attention from emotional processing (distraction) and engaging with emotional processing via changing its meaning (reappraisal), while waiting to receive feedback regarding these evaluative dimensions...
November 9, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Kimberly O'Leary, Lauren M Bylsma, Jonathan Rottenberg
Disordered sleep is strongly linked to future depression, but the reasons for this link are not well understood. This study tested one possibility - that poorer sleep impairs emotion regulation (ER), which over time leads to increased depressive symptoms. Our sample contained individuals with a wide range of depression symptoms (current depression, N = 54, remitted depression, N = 36, and healthy control, N = 53), who were followed clinically over six months and reassessed for changes in depressive symptom levels...
November 3, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Tom Nissens, Michel Failing, Jan Theeuwes
It is known that people covertly attend to threatening stimuli even when it is not beneficial for the task. In the current study we examined whether overt selection is affected by the presence of an object that signals threat. We demonstrate that stimuli that signal the possibility of receiving an electric shock capture the eyes more often than stimuli signalling no shock. Capture occurred even though the threat-signalling stimulus was neither physically salient nor task relevant at any point during the experiment...
October 31, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
João P N Braga, André Mata, Mário B Ferreira, Steven J Sherman
The present paper explores the role of motivation to observe a certain outcome in people's predictions, causal attributions, and beliefs about a streak of binary outcomes (basketball scoring shots). In two studies we found that positive streaks (points scored by the participants' favourite team) lead participants to predict the streak's continuation (belief in the hot hand), but negative streaks lead to predictions of its end (gambler's fallacy). More importantly, these wishful predictions are supported by strategic attributions and beliefs about how and why a streak might unfold...
October 31, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Maartje Elshout, Rob M A Nelissen, Ilja van Beest
Humiliation lacks an empirically derived definition, sometimes simply being equated with shame. We approached the conceptualisation of humiliation from a prototype perspective, identifying 61 features of humiliation, some of which are more central to humiliation (e.g. losing self-esteem) than others (e.g. shyness). Prototypical humiliation involved feeling powerless, small, and inferior in a situation in which one was brought down and in which an audience was present, leading the person to appraise the situation as unfair and resulting in a mix of emotions, most notably disappointment, anger, and shame...
October 27, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Akos Szekely, Suparna Rajaram, Aprajita Mohanty
It is hypothesised that threatening stimuli are detected better due to their salience or physical properties. However, these stimuli are typically embedded in a rich context, motivating the question whether threat detection is facilitated via learning of contexts in which threat stimuli appear. To address this question, we presented threatening face targets in new or old spatial configurations consisting of schematic faces and found that detection of threatening targets was faster in old configurations. This indicates that individuals are able to learn regularities within visual contexts and use this contextual information to guide detection of threatening targets...
October 24, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Morganne A Kraines, Lucas J A Kelberer, Tony T Wells
Research demonstrates that women experience disgust more readily and with more intensity than men. The experience of disgust is associated with increased attention to disgust-related stimuli, but no prior study has examined sex differences in attention to disgust facial expressions. We hypothesised that women, compared to men, would demonstrate increased attention to disgust facial expressions. Participants (n = 172) completed an eye tracking task to measure visual attention to emotional facial expressions...
October 15, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Diana-Mirela Cândea, Aurora Szentágotai-Tătar
Evidence shows that people with high social anxiety levels ruminate about distressing social events, which contributes to the maintenance of social anxiety symptoms. The present study aimed to explore the role of shame in maintaining post-event rumination (PER) following a negative social event (an impromptu speech with negative feedback) in a student sample (N = 104). Participants reported negative rumination related to the event one day and one week after the speech. PER measured one day after the speech was not associated with social anxiety symptoms and state anxiety...
October 15, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
Lena Nadarevic
People typically remember emotionally negative words better than neutral words. Two experiments are reported that investigate whether emotionally enhanced memory (EEM) for negatively arousing words is based on a storage or retrieval advantage. Participants studied non-word-word pairs that either involved negatively arousing or neutral target words. Memory for these target words was tested by means of a recognition test and a cued-recall test. Data were analysed with a multinomial model that allows the disentanglement of storage and retrieval processes in the present recognition-then-cued-recall paradigm...
October 14, 2016: Cognition & Emotion
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