September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Positive affect reduces visual crowding
Author Affiliations
  • Ariana Familiar
    Dartmouth College, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Stefan Uddenberg
    Yale University, Department of Psychology
  • Won Mok Shim
    Dartmouth College, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 450. doi:
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      Ariana Familiar, Stefan Uddenberg, Won Mok Shim; Positive affect reduces visual crowding. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):450.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Positive mood has been shown to both broaden the scope of visual attention (Rowe, Hirsh & Anderson, 2006), and facilitate a broad or narrow focus depending on whichever mode is currently dominant (Huntsinger, Clore & Bar-Anan, 2010). Here we investigate whether positive affect influences the spatial extent of peripheral feature integration. Using short film clips to induce positive (happy), negative (fear), and neutral affect, we measured the effect of visual crowding in each mood condition. A Gabor patch (diameter: 1o, eccentricity: 8o) surrounded by six equally spaced ‘flanker’ Gabors (diameter: 1o) at one of eight possible distances (1.5o, 2o, 2.5o, 3o, 3.5o, 4o, 4.5o, 5o) from the central patch was briefly presented in the right visual field. Subjects’ task was to report whether the central patch was tilted left or right of the vertical meridian, and the detection threshold was measured at each flanker distance. Average critical spacing across subjects was significantly smaller when in a positive mood compared to both neutral and negative conditions, which did not significantly differ. Thus, under positive affect the spatial scope of feature integration was narrowed, allowing for better identification of a crowded feature in the periphery. This supports the notion that positive affect influences the spatial envelope of attention in a flexible manner (Huntsinger, 2013), and modulates this scope depending on the default mode necessitated by current task demands.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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