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Poster B3 - Sketchpad Series

Investigating the impact of affiliative touch on visual emotional appraisal

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Oluwaseun D. Olusanya1 (, James H. Kryklywy1; 1Lakehead University

Many traditional theories of emotional appraisal hold that emotional meaning is gained only after a stimulus is relayed through the primary sensory cortices and other association areas (centralized appraisal). However, accumulating evidence from non-visual modalities show that the valence of a stimulus can be discerned the moment contact is made with the basic sensory organs (decentralized emotional appraisal). However, it remains unknown how decentralized signals of valence influence traditional emotional-appraisal mechanisms. The current work aims to address this gap in understanding, specifically focusing on how affiliative touch influences the visual appraisal. Participants will be presented with either affiliative touch, neutral touch, or no touch while viewing emotional scenes, and required to rate either the visual or tactile stimuli for its valence and arousal. Affiliative touch is operationalized as brush strokes on the arm (3cm/s). Visual stimuli will include scenes from the International Affect Picture System (IAPS). We expect that affiliative touch will increase valence and arousal ratings for neutral and positive scenes compared to other touch conditions. By contrast, we predict that affiliative touch will reduce arousal ratings of negative scenes compared to other touch conditions but will not impact valence perception. We do not expect visual imagery to impact emotional rating of touch stimuli. This study will further our understanding of how affectively salient stimuli from non-visual modalities influence our emotional appraisal of visual information. Results will help to shape affective haptic technologies both in research and the clinical treatments.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions


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April 13–16  |  2024