Poster D15, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Task-dependent evaluative processing of moral and emotional content during reading comprehension: An ERP study
Angelika Kunkel1, Ian Grant Mackenzie1, Ruth Filik2, Hartmut Leuthold1; 1University of Tübingen, 2University of Nottingham
Recently, we showed that when participants read about daily moral transgressions like adultery or tax evasion, they implicitly engage in the evaluative categorization of incoming information. This was indicated by a larger event-related brain potential (ERP) positivity to immoral than moral scenarios (Leuthold, Kunkel, Mackenzie, & Filik, 2015). The present three experiments examined whether such a categorization process contributes to explicit judgments as well and whether it relates to the affective or cognitive processing of incoming information. Target sentences from negative vs. neutral emotional scenarios and from moral vs. immoral scenarios were presented using rapid serial visual presentation while ERPs were continuously recorded. In Experiment 1, participants merely read for comprehension. A larger posterior positivity (LPP; 300-500 ms) for negative and immoral compared to neutral and moral scenarios indicated the implicit affective processing of both emotion and morality materials. In Experiment 2 participants made moral judgments for morality materials and emotional judgments for emotional materials. Negative compared to neutral emotional scenarios elicited a larger LPP about 200 ms after critical word onset, whereas immoral compared to moral scenarios elicited a larger anterior negativity (500-1000 ms). In Experiment 3, where the same emotional judgments to both types of materials were required, a larger LPP was triggered for both types of materials like in Experiment 1. Together, the present findings suggest that the task undertaken by participants determines the focus for incoming linguistic information, with explicit moral judgment tasks requiring increased cognitive processing and emotional judgment tasks requiring increased affective processing.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions