Emotion processing: bottom-up effects of emotions on cognitive processes Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Emotion processing: bottom-up effects of emotions on cognitive processes Deck (50)
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1
Q

What is attention?

A

A set of cognitive functions that select and prioritise information for further processing

2
Q

Why is there a selection of the information in attention?

A

Because of the limits in our cognitive abilities to process all the information

3
Q

How does the adaptative evolutionary perspective explain why emotional stimuli ‘grab’ our attention?

A

For survival

  • emotional stimuli are likely to filter through the selection process to be processed further, physiologically and cognitively
  • to enable us to act accordingly in present and future situations
4
Q

What is the ‘pop-out’ effect of emotional stimuli in visual attention (Öhman, Flykt and Esteves, 2001)?
What marks a robust pop-out effect?

A

Using artificial threat relevant and irrelevant stimuli:
- participants quicker to detect the fear relevant stimulus from fear irrelevant stimuli (distractors)

  • speed reaction times of participants for detecting fear relevant stimuli was unaffected by other task factors
    (e. g. number of distractors, location of target stimuli)
  • > robust pop-out effect
5
Q

Are ‘pop-out’ effects restricted to non-human fear threat stimuli?
What does it suggest?

A

No, they extend to social threat stimuli
- identifying a discrepant angry face from crowd of happy faces

-> Natural tendency to detect and respond to dangerous situations

6
Q

How to measure selective attention bias for threats?

A

Visual probe task:

  • fixation cross in middle of screen, orienting attention
  • threat and neutral stimuli appear on left and right of screen

-> response to the probe = measure of where your attention is at a particular time

7
Q

Does the selective attention bias for threats differ across individuals?

A

Yes
- Inter-individual differences

  • Individuals can differ in the extent to which they can disengage from threat stimuli
  • They can differ in the type of stimulus that captures their attention
8
Q

What is the attention bias index in a visual probe task?

A

= difference between congruent and incongruent trials

9
Q

What are congruent and incongruent trials in a visual probe task measuring selective attention bias for threats?

A

> Congruent trial: probe (arrow) appears in the place of threatening stimulus

> Incongruent trial: probe appears in the place of neutral stimulus

10
Q

What do results show for the selective attention bias of people with mental health problems?

A

> Heightened attention for threatening stimuli
- particularly stimuli that match with their concerns

> If threat stimulus matches their concerns, they’re quicker at responding on congruent trials, and slower on incongruent trials

-> their attention was very quickly captured and possibly locked in by the presence of threatening stimulus

11
Q

What do studies on attention bias of women with eating disorders show?

A

> Attention orienting bias towards negative and neutral weight stimuli
- and towards negative and neutral body shape stimuli

> Attention avoidance to positive (healthy) stimuli

12
Q

What are the limitations of the visual probe task in studying attention bias for threats?

A
  1. We don’t know if it shows attention orienting or inability to disengage?
  2. Hard to determine when the attention focus shifts from vigilance to avoidance because the image is too distressing
13
Q

What is the solution to the limitations of the visual probe task?

A

Use eye-tracking
- enables a more continuous measure

-> precise information about time course of attention biases from early to late
AND map out direction of the bias when changing from vigilance to avoidance

14
Q

What does the emotional Stroop task show?

A

Emotional stimuli not only capture our attention but also disrupt processing of concurrent tasks
- absorb cognitive resources

15
Q

What did the study on patients with anxiety show with the emotional Stroop task?

A

They’re more affected by the threatening content of the words and are therefore slower at colour-naming threat words

  • words that disrupted their attention were dependent of their content and the specific concerns of the patients
16
Q

What are the implications of being hyper vigilant to mild threats?

A

> Can be maladaptive
- characteristic of people with mental disorders (anxiety, eating disorders, depression)

> Can contribute to psychopathologies

17
Q

What do we see in people with depression regarding positive stimuli?

A

Their attention is less captured by positive stimuli

vs. people with more optimistic and resilient traits

18
Q

What are the effects of emotion on learning?

A

> They can disrupt attention processing so we perform worse at a task

> They can enhance learning
- rewards motivate children for learning, employees to perform well

19
Q

What is the evidence on external rewards for motivation?

A

External rewards can dampen intrinsic motivation

20
Q

How to study how rewards enhance simple learning?

A

Associative learning tasks
- associating cues through contingency

> Training: associate shapes with high/medium/low monetary rewards

> Test: complete matching task
- for correct match and non-matching judgments: participants gain extra rewards to the value assigned to the shape

21
Q

What do associative learning tasks show for monetary rewards and self associations?

A

> Monetary rewards: beneficial learning effect for high-reward

> Self associations (shape for self vs. friend vs. stranger):

  • clear bias to shapes associated with self
  • self associations as salient as monetary rewards
22
Q

Which experiment studied fear conditioning?

What did it show?

A

‘Little Albert’ study:

  • object paired with emotional stimulus
  • conditioned stimulus, previously neutral, induced fear response

-> threatening stimuli can facilitate fear conditioning

23
Q

What is the common protocol for fear conditioning?

What are the findings?

A

Pair geometric shape with electric shock while another geometric shape is not

  • > individuals can generalise their fear
  • show slightly elevated fear to the conditioned safe stimulus as well
24
Q

What did Lissek and colleagues show in their study on the “generalisation of conditioned fear-potentiated startle in humans” (2008)?
How does it relate to Little Albert?

A

> Conditioning applies to similar stimuli
- Little Albert generalised his fear of mouse )conditioned stimulus) to other white furry objects

> Fear to conditioned threat stimulus can be resistant to change
- depends partly on the nature of the unconditioned stimulus that generated the fear

> It is suggested that even after a fear extinction process, memory for the conditioned fear is not erased bu simply inhibited

25
Q

How does fear conditioning model the development of phobias?

A

Phobias = incident + association
- fear cues present at the time and seems to predict the outcome

  • it’s plausible that the conditioned fear generalises to other cues that were present
26
Q

Which evidence suggest that fear conditioning as a model of the development of phobias is too simplistic?

A
  1. Not everyone who has a phobia can immediately recall a negative event that preceded it
  2. Not everyone who has similar accidents subsequently develop phobias
27
Q

How can conditioned fear be acquired?

A
  1. Through direct experience
  2. Through vicarious or informational learning
    - transmission of fears, which can occur in the absence of direct contact with fear stimuli
28
Q

What do experiments on the acquisition of conditioned fear through observational learning and social referencing show?

A

Vicarious learning:
- fear is acquired by observing fearful responses to a previously neutral stimulus/situation

  • children model fear on parents’ responses
    e. g. visual Clift experiment
29
Q

What can vicarious learning of conditioned fear explain?

A

Why many specific fears or phobias have an early age of onset
- children model fear on parents’ responses

30
Q

What do experiments on the acquisition of conditioned fear through informational/instructional transmission show?

A

> Fear can be transferred verbally

> Fear beliefs are only changed when information was presented as a story verbally (vs. video)

> Fear beliefs only changed if information was presented by an adult (teacher, adult stranger) but not by peers

-> transmission of fear from adults - parents - to children

31
Q

Does everyone develop phobias with fear conditioning?

What does that imply for models of fear conditioning?

A

Not everyone develops phobias

-> Model of fear conditioning must account for individual differences in how fear is acquired

32
Q

What did the “updated meta-analysis of classical fear conditioning in the anxiety disorders” (Duits, Cath and Lissek, 2015) show?
What does it suggest?

A

Those with anxiety conditions differ in:

  • how they generalised fears
  • how much they resist fear extinction
33
Q

What is the consequence of disturbances in the processes of generalisation and extinction of fear?

A

Can maintain a state of fear that then affects avoidance behaviours

  • > vicious cycle: the more individuals avoid the fear stimuli, the less natural extinction can occur
  • > maintaining fear
34
Q

What is the potential consequence of acquiring threatening associations in PTSD?

A

Cues associated with elements of experiences at point of trauma can provoke powerful sensory images through flashbacks - reliving the original trauma
-> extreme fear and avoidance

  • individual differences, also in addiction (reward associations)
35
Q

What are the effects of emotions on memory?

A
  1. Emotional events are better remembered that non-emotional events
    - e.g. patients with amnesia shower no overall recollection of faces, BUT their judgments were consistent with initial descriptions of photographs presented a week before
    - > emotions can impact the outputs of the system
  2. Emotions can narrow the focus of attention
    - stress hormones affect memory retention
36
Q

What are flashbulb memories?

A

Memories of salient events which can be described in great detail

  • even for big events in the news (Kennedy’s assassination, Princess Diana’s death, 9/11)
  • > who was there, what they were doing, who were they with
  • However not always accurate
37
Q

What kind of design protocol is used to measure accuracy of memories?

A

Interviewing people immediately after even, and again 3 years later
- with some discrepancies between the 2 assessment points

38
Q

Are memories of dramatic events always accurate?

Why?

A

No
- post-event analysis can be confused with experience

e. g. Ochsner (2000):
- negative pictures more accurately remembered than positive or neutral pictures
- arousing pictures, both negative and positive, are remembered accurately
- of the correctly identified old negative pictures, participants were more likely to endorse ‘remember’ judgements rather than ‘know’ judgments
- > negative pictures appeared more accurately remembered with rich detail

39
Q

How do stress hormones affect memory retention?

A

Emotional arousal can narrow attention of central event, but not peripheral events

40
Q

What is the ‘weapon focus’ effect?

A

Participants spend a greater deal of attention on the weapon than the face of the offender

41
Q

What is ‘over general autobiographical memory’?

A

For some individuals stress can cause over generalised memories

42
Q

Which people often present ‘over general autobiographical memory’?

A

People with psychiatric conditions following a stressful life event

e. g. PTSD, bipolar, major depression
- inter-individual differences between people with such disorders vs. healthy controls

  • overgeneralised memory can’t be explained by other factors than extreme stress
    (education, verbal intelligence, general memory differences)
43
Q

What could explain the production of over general memories?

A

> Structural memory deficit

> Adaptive strategy for managing extreme emotional distress following aversive events

44
Q

What do studies show on children and young people who’ve experienced maltreatment in early life, vs. non-abused or non-neglected participants?

A

They are less specific in their description of autobiographical memories when responding to positive, negative and neutral cue words

45
Q

How can memories formed under stress present themselves?

A

Through intrusive involuntary images
- extremely vivid and detailed

  • prominent in many mental health conditions
    (e. g. PTSD: reports of visual intrusions of small number of real or imaginary events, than occur be highly distressing and central in maintaining arousal, fears, and other psychopathological features
46
Q

What are the two phenomena of the effecting of mood states on memory processes?

A
  1. Mood-congruent memory
    - we remember things similar to mood that we are in
  2. Mood-dependent memory
    - material more likely recalled when in same mood than at learning time
47
Q

What is necessary to mood-dependent memory?

A

Context-dependent learning:

- congruence between mood at learning and at retrieval for maximal effects on memory performance

48
Q

How could memories biases play a role in maintaining depression?

A

> Mood difficulties will have an impact on memory formation

- people with depression often can recall negative material more frequently

49
Q

What is the criticism against the potential role of memory biases in maintaining depression?

A

Memory biases could just reflect a response bias:
- e.g. depressed participants remember both positive and negative words equally well, but they choose to select the negative word

50
Q

Which task confirmed the role of memory biases on depression?

A

Implicit memory task:

  • Encoding: rate how much this word applied to you: foolish, clever, peaceful, failure
  • Test: complete the word fragments with the missing word as quick as you can
  • > Depressed participants are quicker at completing word fragments of negative words
  • > Even when response biases are reduced, there still appears to be a memory bias