Friday, May 31, 2013

Quick hits on three other studies.

Quick hits on three other studies from Cognition & Emotion (v27, n4).

There are three other abstracts that I read, but I am out of blogging time so here are the basic findings and you can think about them on your own:

·         Storbeck:  We have known for some time that people focus more on details when in bad moods and more on the big picture when in good moods.  In this study, he induced good, bad, and neutral moods and then presented words on a screen that had unique spatial locations and fonts.  As expected, test subjects were better at remembering these details when in bad moods.  But what is new is that when they were instructed to pay attention to the location and the font, the effect disappeared.  So it seems that the reason bad moods have this effect is that we are more likely to pay attention to details when encoding the information, not benefits in the storage process or the remembering process.  

·         Notebaert, Crombez, Van Damme, Durnez, andTheeuwes found something similar.  We have also known that threatening stimuli are better at attracting attention than unthreatening stimuli.  Again, the effect disappeared when the test subjects were instructed to look at the screen location where the threatening information was going to appear.  So the effect is due to increases in encoding rather than increase in storing or remembering.

·         Mama, Ben-Haim, and Algom looked at the Stroop Test and the Emotional variation of the Stroop Test.  Past research has shown that emotional and threat words take longer to name in a Stroop test.  What they added is that if the emotion and the color are correlated in the coding, the emotional words are named faster rather than slower.  So emotion can be used as a benefit to performance rather than decrement if we know it an advance and can incorporate it into the design. 

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