Valence- and arousal specific emotional modulation of cognitive control mechanisms

[Speaker] Maran, Thomas:1
[Co-author] Sachse, Pierre:1, Herz, Christoph:1, Peglow, Nora:1, Hutzenthaler, Nicola:1, Gumbert, Mathias:1, Furtner, Marco:1
1:University of Innsbruck (Austria)

Cognitive control is recruited in conflicting situations. Due to the aversive nature of cognitive conflicts, recent approaches describe cognitive control as a phasic emotional process, triggered by goal conflicts to boost interference resolution (Inzlicht, Bartholow & Hirsh, 2015). Our study aimed to explore how cognitive control mechanisms of interference resolution work under affective states varying in valence and arousal. A sample of 92 healthy young adults was randomly assigned to 4 groups and performed a modified recency probes task. To experimentally manipulate affective states, groups were confronted with different sets of stimuli varying in valence and arousal. Participants in the negative condition and both high arousing conditions showed increased interference resolution compared to the neutral condition. By contrast, confronted with low arousing positive contents subjects showed enhanced interference costs. Our results provide strong evidence for valence- and arousal specific effects of emotion on cognitive control in visual working memory.
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