Poster Session B, Sunday, March 24, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
The relation between emotion and semantic priming: Evidence from N400 and reaction time
Dorothee J. Chwilla1; 1Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour; Radboud University
A participant's mood has been shown to influence semantic processing at the sentence level (e.g., Chwilla, Virgillito & Vissers, 2011). Little attention has been directed at mood effects on the processing of neutral words at the word level. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of mood on semantic priming. Visual prime-target pairs were presented that were bidirectionally related (e.g., "boy-girl"), unidirectionally forward related (e.g., "palm-tree"), unidirectionally backward related (e.g.,"tree-palm") or unrelated (e.g., "bird-soap"). Mood (happy vs. sad) was manipulated by presenting video clips. ERPs and reaction times were recorded while participants performed a lexical decision task. If mood impacts semantic processing this should be reflected by an interaction between mood and priming. The mood manipulation successfully induced a happy or sad state. For N400, a relatedness effect occurred in the absence of a relatedness by mood interaction or main effect of mood. Across moods, N400 amplitude was largest for unrelated targets, intermediate for unidirectionally forward- and backward-related targets, and smallest for bidirectionally related items. Likewise, for reaction time a relatedness effect reflected priming for bidirectionally related, unidirectionally forward and backward related compared to unrelated targets. There was no effect of mood or mood by relatedness interaction. To conclude, the N400 and reaction time results provide converging evidence that mood does not influence meaning processing of neutral words at the word level. The results are taken to suggest that the reliably reported mood effects at the sentence level, likely are mediated by more controlled mechanism, like heuristics.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions