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The effect of cognitive load in emotional attention and trait anxiety: an eye movement study

Nick Berggren, Ernst Koster UGent and Nazanin Derakshan (2012) JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY. 24(1). p.79-91
abstract
There is extensive debate on the automaticity of attentional processing of emotional information. One core feature of automaticity is the independence of processing emotion from factors that can affect attention such as cognitive load. In the present study we investigated whether processing of emotional facial expressions was dependent on cognitive load using a visual search paradigm. Manual responses as well as eye movements were recorded. Although both measures showed that emotional information captured attention more strongly than neutral information, manual responses indicated that load slowed reaction times only for "pop-out" emotion conditions; no increase was seen for all-emotional displays. This suggests that the saliency of emotion was reduced, but eye movement data showed that effects were caused by improvements for all-emotional displays in target processing efficiency. Additionally, trait anxiety did not influence threat processing, but costs were observed under load that were not present for nonanxious subjects. Our results suggest that while load can interfere with task performance, it may not affect emotion processing. Our findings highlight the importance of eye movement measures in accounting for differences in manual response data and provide novel support to theories of anxiety.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
STIMULI, VISUAL-ATTENTION, SELECTIVE ATTENTION, THREAT, PROCESSING EFFICIENCY, PERFORMANCE, BIAS, INDIVIDUALS, DISENGAGEMENT, AVOIDANCE, Anxiety, Attention, Emotion, Eye movement, Visual search
journal title
JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
J. Cogn. Psychol.
volume
24
issue
1
pages
79 - 91
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000299917300007
JCR category
PSYCHOLOGY, EXPERIMENTAL
JCR impact factor
0.756 (2012)
JCR rank
75/83 (2012)
JCR quartile
4 (2012)
ISSN
2044-5911
DOI
10.1080/20445911.2011.618450
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
2071732
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2071732
date created
2012-03-21 14:53:47
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:44:52
@article{2071732,
  abstract     = {There is extensive debate on the automaticity of attentional processing of emotional information. One core feature of automaticity is the independence of processing emotion from factors that can affect attention such as cognitive load. In the present study we investigated whether processing of emotional facial expressions was dependent on cognitive load using a visual search paradigm. Manual responses as well as eye movements were recorded. Although both measures showed that emotional information captured attention more strongly than neutral information, manual responses indicated that load slowed reaction times only for {\textacutedbl}pop-out{\textacutedbl} emotion conditions; no increase was seen for all-emotional displays. This suggests that the saliency of emotion was reduced, but eye movement data showed that effects were caused by improvements for all-emotional displays in target processing efficiency. Additionally, trait anxiety did not influence threat processing, but costs were observed under load that were not present for nonanxious subjects. Our results suggest that while load can interfere with task performance, it may not affect emotion processing. Our findings highlight the importance of eye movement measures in accounting for differences in manual response data and provide novel support to theories of anxiety.},
  author       = {Berggren, Nick and Koster, Ernst and Derakshan, Nazanin},
  issn         = {2044-5911},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY},
  keyword      = {STIMULI,VISUAL-ATTENTION,SELECTIVE ATTENTION,THREAT,PROCESSING EFFICIENCY,PERFORMANCE,BIAS,INDIVIDUALS,DISENGAGEMENT,AVOIDANCE,Anxiety,Attention,Emotion,Eye movement,Visual search},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {79--91},
  title        = {The effect of cognitive load in emotional attention and trait anxiety: an eye movement study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20445911.2011.618450},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Berggren, Nick, Ernst Koster, and Nazanin Derakshan. 2012. “The Effect of Cognitive Load in Emotional Attention and Trait Anxiety: An Eye Movement Study.” Journal of Cognitive Psychology 24 (1): 79–91.
APA
Berggren, N., Koster, E., & Derakshan, N. (2012). The effect of cognitive load in emotional attention and trait anxiety: an eye movement study. JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, 24(1), 79–91.
Vancouver
1.
Berggren N, Koster E, Derakshan N. The effect of cognitive load in emotional attention and trait anxiety: an eye movement study. JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY. 2012;24(1):79–91.
MLA
Berggren, Nick, Ernst Koster, and Nazanin Derakshan. “The Effect of Cognitive Load in Emotional Attention and Trait Anxiety: An Eye Movement Study.” JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY 24.1 (2012): 79–91. Print.