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Effects of valent image-based secondary tasks on verbal working memory

Morgan, Phillip L. ORCID:, Williams, Craig, Ings, Fay M. and Hughes, Nia C. 2018. Effects of valent image-based secondary tasks on verbal working memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71 (6) , pp. 1440-1456. 10.1080/17470218.2017.1329324

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Two experiments examined if exposure to emotionally valent image-based secondary tasks introduced at different points of a free recall working memory (WM) task impair memory performance. Images from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS: Lang, Bradley, & Cuthbert, 2008) varied in the degree of negative or positive valance (mild, moderate, strong) and were positioned at low, moderate, and high WM load points with participants rating them based upon perceived valence. As predicted, and based on previous research and theory, the higher the degree of negative (Experiment 1) and positive (Experiment 2) valence and the higher the WM load when a secondary task was introduced, the greater the impairment to recall. Secondary task images with strong negative valance were more disruptive than negative images with lower valence at moderate and high WM load task points involving encoding and/or rehearsal of primary task words (Experiment 1). This was not the case for secondary tasks involving positive images (Experiment 2), although participant valence ratings for positive IAPS images classified as moderate and strong were in fact very similar. Implications are discussed in relation to research and theory on task interruption and attentional narrowing and literature concerning the effects of emotive stimuli on cognition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1747-0218
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 October 2017
Date of Acceptance: 1 May 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 03:25

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