Poster A71, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Accessing Script Knowledge: The Case Of Emotion
Katharina Menn1, Dorothee J. Chwilla1; 1Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, Radboud University
In the emotion literature it is generally agreed upon that there exist mood-dependent processing styles (e.g., Isen, 2001; Gasper & Clore, 2002). Positive mood is associated with a more global, category level of information processing, that is, relating information to what is known based on world knowledge. In contrast, negative mood invalidates accessible cognitions and is characterized by local, item specific processing with close attention to details. In the present study we tested this view by investigating the effect of mood on the processing of world knowledge. To this aim we presented word triplets that formed a conceptual script but were not associatively and/or semantically related (e.g., DIRECTOR - BRIBE – DISMISSAL) or were unrelated. Mood (happy vs. sad) was induced by presenting film clips. Reaction time (RT) and ERPs were recorded. Participants were asked to indicate whether the triplets formed a plausible scenario. The main findings were as follows: The mood induction was successful. Consistent with previous work a reduction in RT and N400 amplitude was found for script-related compared to unrelated triplets (Chwilla & Kolk, 2005). Importantly, for N400, a mood by plausibility interaction was present. The interaction reflected the presence of a broadly distributed N400 script priming effect for positive mood (p <. 001) but absence of an N400 script priming effect for negative mood (F < 1). The present N400 results provide further support for mood-dependent processing styles. Happy mood validates accessible cognitions and exploiting world knowledge whereas sad mood discourages the use of world knowledge.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Semantic