Don't Like What You See? Give It Time

Longer Reaction Times Associated With Increased Positive Affect

Maital Neta, Tien T. Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Images with an ambiguous valence (e.g., surprised facial expressions) are interpreted by some people as having a negative valence, and by others, as having a more positive valence. Despite these individual differences in valence bias, the more automatic interpretation is negative, and positivity appears to require regulation. Interestingly, extant research has shown that there is an age-related positivity effect such that relative to young adults, older adults attend to and remember positive more than negative information. In this report, the authors show that this positivity effect extends to emotional ambiguity (Experiment 1). Eighty participants (aged 19-71, 42 females) rated the valence of images with a clear or ambiguous valence. They found that age correlated with valence bias, such that older adults showed a more positive bias, and they took longer to rate images, than younger adults. They also found that this increase in reaction times was sufficient to bias positivity (Experiment 2). Thirty-four participants (aged 18-28, 24 females) rated ambiguous and clear images, before and after an instruction to delay their RTs. They also found that although ratings among individuals with a positive bias did not change, those with a negative bias became more positive when encouraged to delay. Indeed, participants with the strongest negativity bias showed the greatest increase in RTs. Taken together, this work demonstrates that the valence bias, which represents a stable, trait-like difference across people, can be moved in the positive direction, at least temporarily, when participants are encouraged to take their time and consider alternatives. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEmotion
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 7 2016

Fingerprint

Young Adult
Facial Expression
Individuality
Research
Direction compound

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Emotional ambiguity
  • Individual differences
  • Negativity bias
  • Reaction time (RT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Don't Like What You See? Give It Time : Longer Reaction Times Associated With Increased Positive Affect. / Neta, Maital; Tong, Tien T.

In: Emotion, 07.04.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d1565bcc84cc4c068957ad6a66f6af2c,
title = "Don't Like What You See? Give It Time: Longer Reaction Times Associated With Increased Positive Affect",
abstract = "Images with an ambiguous valence (e.g., surprised facial expressions) are interpreted by some people as having a negative valence, and by others, as having a more positive valence. Despite these individual differences in valence bias, the more automatic interpretation is negative, and positivity appears to require regulation. Interestingly, extant research has shown that there is an age-related positivity effect such that relative to young adults, older adults attend to and remember positive more than negative information. In this report, the authors show that this positivity effect extends to emotional ambiguity (Experiment 1). Eighty participants (aged 19-71, 42 females) rated the valence of images with a clear or ambiguous valence. They found that age correlated with valence bias, such that older adults showed a more positive bias, and they took longer to rate images, than younger adults. They also found that this increase in reaction times was sufficient to bias positivity (Experiment 2). Thirty-four participants (aged 18-28, 24 females) rated ambiguous and clear images, before and after an instruction to delay their RTs. They also found that although ratings among individuals with a positive bias did not change, those with a negative bias became more positive when encouraged to delay. Indeed, participants with the strongest negativity bias showed the greatest increase in RTs. Taken together, this work demonstrates that the valence bias, which represents a stable, trait-like difference across people, can be moved in the positive direction, at least temporarily, when participants are encouraged to take their time and consider alternatives. (PsycINFO Database Record",
keywords = "Aging, Emotional ambiguity, Individual differences, Negativity bias, Reaction time (RT)",
author = "Maital Neta and Tong, {Tien T.}",
year = "2016",
month = "4",
day = "7",
doi = "10.1037/emo0000181",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Emotion",
issn = "1528-3542",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Don't Like What You See? Give It Time

T2 - Longer Reaction Times Associated With Increased Positive Affect

AU - Neta, Maital

AU - Tong, Tien T.

PY - 2016/4/7

Y1 - 2016/4/7

N2 - Images with an ambiguous valence (e.g., surprised facial expressions) are interpreted by some people as having a negative valence, and by others, as having a more positive valence. Despite these individual differences in valence bias, the more automatic interpretation is negative, and positivity appears to require regulation. Interestingly, extant research has shown that there is an age-related positivity effect such that relative to young adults, older adults attend to and remember positive more than negative information. In this report, the authors show that this positivity effect extends to emotional ambiguity (Experiment 1). Eighty participants (aged 19-71, 42 females) rated the valence of images with a clear or ambiguous valence. They found that age correlated with valence bias, such that older adults showed a more positive bias, and they took longer to rate images, than younger adults. They also found that this increase in reaction times was sufficient to bias positivity (Experiment 2). Thirty-four participants (aged 18-28, 24 females) rated ambiguous and clear images, before and after an instruction to delay their RTs. They also found that although ratings among individuals with a positive bias did not change, those with a negative bias became more positive when encouraged to delay. Indeed, participants with the strongest negativity bias showed the greatest increase in RTs. Taken together, this work demonstrates that the valence bias, which represents a stable, trait-like difference across people, can be moved in the positive direction, at least temporarily, when participants are encouraged to take their time and consider alternatives. (PsycINFO Database Record

AB - Images with an ambiguous valence (e.g., surprised facial expressions) are interpreted by some people as having a negative valence, and by others, as having a more positive valence. Despite these individual differences in valence bias, the more automatic interpretation is negative, and positivity appears to require regulation. Interestingly, extant research has shown that there is an age-related positivity effect such that relative to young adults, older adults attend to and remember positive more than negative information. In this report, the authors show that this positivity effect extends to emotional ambiguity (Experiment 1). Eighty participants (aged 19-71, 42 females) rated the valence of images with a clear or ambiguous valence. They found that age correlated with valence bias, such that older adults showed a more positive bias, and they took longer to rate images, than younger adults. They also found that this increase in reaction times was sufficient to bias positivity (Experiment 2). Thirty-four participants (aged 18-28, 24 females) rated ambiguous and clear images, before and after an instruction to delay their RTs. They also found that although ratings among individuals with a positive bias did not change, those with a negative bias became more positive when encouraged to delay. Indeed, participants with the strongest negativity bias showed the greatest increase in RTs. Taken together, this work demonstrates that the valence bias, which represents a stable, trait-like difference across people, can be moved in the positive direction, at least temporarily, when participants are encouraged to take their time and consider alternatives. (PsycINFO Database Record

KW - Aging

KW - Emotional ambiguity

KW - Individual differences

KW - Negativity bias

KW - Reaction time (RT)

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84962770393&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84962770393&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/emo0000181

DO - 10.1037/emo0000181

M3 - Article

JO - Emotion

JF - Emotion

SN - 1528-3542

ER -