The Role of Selective Attention in the Positivity Offset: Evidence from Event Related Potentials

Date created
2021-11-03
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
Some research suggests that positive and negative valence stimuli may be processed differently. For example, negative material may capture and hold attention more readily than equally arousing positive material. This is called the negativity bias, and it has been observed as both behavioural and electroencephalographic (EEG) effects. Consequently, it has been attributed to both automatic and elaborative processes. However, at the lowest levels of arousal, faster reaction times and stronger EEG responses to positive material have been observed. This is called the positivity offset, and the underlying cognitive mechanism is less understood. To study the role of selective attention in the positivity offset, participants completed a negative affective priming (NAP) task modified to dissociate priming for positive and negative words. The task required participants to indicate the valence of a target word, while simultaneously ignoring a distractor. In experiment 1, a behavioural facilitation effect (faster response time) was observed for positive words, in stark contrast to the original NAP task. These results were congruent with a previously reported general categorization advantage for positive material. In experiment 2, participants performed the task while EEG was recorded. In additional to replicating the behavioural results from experiment 1, positive words elicited a larger Late Positive Potential (LPP) component on ignored repetition relative to control trials. Surprisingly, negative words elicited a larger LPP than positive words on control trials. These results suggest that the positivity offset may reflect a greater sensitivity to priming effects due to a more flexible attentional set.
Document
Identifier
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258640
Publication details
Publication title
PLoS ONE
Document title
The role of selective attention in the positivity offset: Evidence from event related potentials
Date
2021-11-03
Volume
16
Issue
11
First page
e0258640
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Yes
Language
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