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Allocation of spatial attention to emotional stimuli depends upon arousal and not valence

Vogt, J., De Houwer, J., Koster, E. H. W. and Crombez, G. (2008) Allocation of spatial attention to emotional stimuli depends upon arousal and not valence. Emotion, 8 (6). pp. 880-885. ISSN 1931-1516

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/a0013981


Attentional allocation to emotional stimuli is often proposed to be driven by valence and in particular by negativity. However, many negative stimuli are also arousing leaving the question whether valence or arousal accounts for this effect. The authors examined whether the valence or the arousal level of emotional stimuli influences the allocation of spatial attention using a modified spatial cueing task. Participants responded to targets that were preceded by cues consisting of emotional pictures varying on arousal and valence. Response latencies showed that disengagement of spatial attention was slower for stimuli high in arousal than for stimuli low in arousal. The effect was independent of the valence of the pictures and not gender-specific. The findings support the idea that arousal affects the allocation of attention.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:33974
Publisher:American Psychological Association

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