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Directed attention reduces processing of emotional distracters irrespective of valence and arousal level
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2013 (English)In: Biological Psychology, ISSN 0301-0511, E-ISSN 1873-6246, Vol. 94, no 1, 44-54 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Emotional stimuli tend to capture attention, and this so-called motivated attention is commonly measured using the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP). We hypothesized that voluntary, directed attention reduces motivated attention more strongly for highly than moderately arousing pleasant or unpleasant pictures. Participants were instructed to direct their attention to either a picture at fixation or the letters flanking the picture. Pictures varied substantially in arousal and valence. When the pictures were attended to, EPN and LPP increased linearly with arousal. When the letters were attended to, these linear effects decreased in the EPN for pleasant and unpleasant pictures and in the LPP for pleasant pictures. Thus, directed attention decreases processing of emotional distracters more strongly for highly than moderately arousing pleasant and unpleasant pictures. These results are consistent with the view that directed attention decreases emotion effects on sensory gain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 94, no 1, 44-54 p.
Keyword [en]
attention, emotion, event-related potentials, EPN, LPP
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90325DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.05.001ISI: 000323480000005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-90325DiVA: diva2:624751
Available from: 2013-06-03 Created: 2013-06-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Wiens, StefanSyrjänen, Elmeri
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