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Stefan Uddenberg, Won Mok Shim; Positive affect broadens perceptual tuning curves.. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):11. doi: 10.1167/12.9.11.
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Previous research has shown that positive mood broadens the scope of visual attention, from facilitating more holistic processing of figures to expanding the spatial extent of one’s attentional spotlight (Rowe, Hirsh, & Anderson, 2006). However, it remains unclear whether the broadening effect of positive affect can be generalized to feature space. The present study investigated the hypothesis that positive affect also serves to broaden the scope of feature-based attention, reducing selectivity along a given feature dimension. While undergoing a musical mood induction procedure for each of three affective conditions (positive, neutral or negative) subjects made rapid responses to the presence of a target direction (leftward or rightward) evinced by a peripheral, circular aperture of grey dots. These dots moved coherently in brief pulses, with a different random direction for each pulse (± 80° centered on target direction, with 10° steps) (Busse, Katzner, Tillmann, & Treue, 2008). We extracted perceptual direction tuning curves by reverse-correlating subjects’ responses with the motion sequence and compared the width of the tuning curves across three mood induction conditions. The results show that positive affect yields broader direction tuning curves (as shown by greater FWHM) than did negative affect, but not neutral affect. This finding suggests that positive states result in a diffusion of attention across feature space.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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