The effects of emotional stimuli on target detection: Indirect and direct resource costs

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1649-1658 (2011)
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The present study was designed to explore the performance costs of negative emotional stimuli in a vigilance task. Forty participants performed a vigilance task in two conditions: one with task-irrelevant negative-arousing pictures and one with task-irrelevant neutral pictures. In addition to performance, we measured subjective state and frontal cerebral activity with near infrared spectroscopy. Overall performance in the negative picture condition was lower than in the neutral picture condition and the negative picture condition had elevated levels of energetic arousal, tense arousal and task-related thoughts. Moreover, there was a significant relationship between the impact of the negative pictures on tense arousal and task-related thoughts and the impact of the negative pictures on performance . These results provide support for indirect cost models of negative emotional stimuli on target detection performance



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