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Brent Pitchford, Karen Arnell; Executive control processes can broaden attention for those with high approach tendencies. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):690. doi: 10.1167/17.10.690.
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Overriding one's dominant response tendencies by exercising self-control has been suggested to affect whether people see the "forest or the trees" (i.e., global/local bias), which is corroborated by evidence from both behavioural and electrophysiological measures. Since there are reliable individual differences in global/local processing, the extent to which the self-control exercise is producing this change - above and beyond the effect of people's individual differences in trait-like bias - is still unclear. Trait self-control and approach-motivated tendencies have both been suggested in past research to affect global/local processing. Here undergraduate participants viewed hierarchical letters (e.g., the letter F made of T's), both before and after completing incongruent (high self-control) or congruent (low self-control) colour Stroop tasks, and they were asked to report the target letters within the global and local levels of the images as quickly as possible. Also, participants completed self-report questionnaires to measure their general trait-like tendencies (e.g., Circumplex Affect Questionnaire, Behavioural Inhibition Scale; BIS, Behavioural Activation Scale; BAS, Self-Control Scale, Impulsivity Scale). Results showed that there was only a significant change in global bias (Local RT – Global RT) during the incongruent condition relative to the congruent condition when considering participant's approach-like tendencies; higher BAS and lower BIS participants tended to show a greater global bias after the self-control task compared to the pre-Stroop baseline, relative to people with lower BAS and higher BIS scores. The findings from this study provide further support that approach-motivated tendencies are integral to better understanding the effect that executive functioning has on global/local bias.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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