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Michaela Porubanova, Maria Kuvaldina, Andrey Chetverikov; Emotional Primes Affects Global versus Local Processing Differently: The Effect of Arousal. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):282c. https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.282c.
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Strong positive emotional primes reduce global precedence effect and facilitate processing of local information (Noguchi & Tomoike, 2016). On the contrary, it has been suggested that positive mood facilitates processing of global features through broadening of one’s attention while negative moods enhance a local processing style by narrowing it (Frederickson & Branigan, 2005). In our study, we aimed to understand how primes of different arousal and valence combination influence processing of global and local visual information. In a series of 400 trails, participants were asked to identify a target letter (F/L in one block and H/T in another) which could be either the local or global object. Each trial commenced with a fixation cross presented for 1000ms and followed by a real-world scene prime (neutral, negative high arousal, negative low arousal, positive high arousal, positive low arousal, or a filler). Subsequently, the target letter appeared for 5s until participants responded. The findings show that even though emotional and neutral primes did not impact the reaction time to global features, emotional primes impaired processing of local features in comparison to neutral primes. Interestingly, high arousal primes of both valence (positive and negative) impaired both local and global processing to a greater extent than low arousal primes. However, compared to neutral primes, both low and high arousal decreased the difference in processing efficiency between global and local targets. Our results do not provide support for the link between emotional valence and differences in processing of local or global information when the arousal is controlled for. We also found that even low-arousing pictures decrease the efficiency of global processing, suggesting that the reduction in the global precedence occurs not only for strongly motivating information but for to emotional scenes in general.
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