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Jakub Traczyk, Paweł Matusz and Agata Sobków

Attention-driven bias for threat-related stimuli in implicit memory. Preliminary results from the Posner cueing paradigm

An implicit memory advantage for angry faces was investigated in this experiment by means of an additional cueing task. Participants were to assess the orientation of a triangle's peak, which side of presentation was cued informatively by angry and neutral face stimuli, after which they immediately completed an unexpected "old-new" task on a set of the previously presented faces and new, distractor-faces. Surprisingly, the RTs were similarly long on the invalid trials for angry and neutral facial cues in the Posner task. However, performance on the "old-new" task was better for angry than neutral faces. A strong correlation between RTs in angry-invalid trials and confidence ratings for these angry faces was observed only in highly reactive participants. These results suggest that presentation of threatening material can induce enhanced incidental encoding which can result in stronger familiarity for such material, and this effect is driven by attentional bias in highly reactive individuals.

Open access

Pawel Tomczak and Jakub Traczyk

Abstract

The anchoring heuristic refers to phenomena when an arbitrary number affects subsequent numerical estimations. Oppenheimer, LeBoeuf and Brewer (2008) showed that it is not necessary for the anchor to be a numerical value (i.e., the act of drawing lines of different length effectively shifts numerical estimations), yet current models describing the anchoring heuristic do not fully account for the mechanism of non-numerical anchoring. However, this effect shows similarity to the basic anchoring effect - obtained without the comparative question and based on the availability of the given number in working memory. In this study, we attempt to verify whether those two effect share the same psychological mechanism. In Experiment 1, we show that non-numerical anchoring based on magnitude priming cannot be obtained when the lines are just observed. The examined mechanism proves to be dependent on the act of drawing, displaying limitations similar to the basic anchoring effect, previously pointed out by Brewer and Chapman (2002). By using the same numerical anchors in different size formats, in Experiment 2 we showed that anchoring based on magnitude priming occurs even when the numerical values do not affect the estimations. The results are discussed in the light of a possible mechanism that underlies the investigated effect.

Open access

Remigiusz Szczepanowski, Jakub Traczyk, Zhao Fan and Lewis O. Harvey

Abstract

The present study provides evidence that the activation strength produced by emotional stimuli must pass a threshold level in order to be consciously perceived, contrary to the assumption of continuous quality of representation. An analysis of receiver operating characteristics (ROC) for attentional blink performance was used to distinguish between two (continuous vs. threshold) models of emotion perception by inspecting two different ROC’s shapes. Across all conditions, the results showed that performance in the attentional blink task was better described by the two-limbs ROC predicted by the Krantz threshold model than by the curvilinear ROC implied by the signal-detection theory.

Open access

Jakub Traczyk, Jakub Kus and Agata Sobkow

Abstract

Expected utility theory posits that our preferences for gambles result from the weighting of utilities of monetary payoffs by their probabilities. However, recent studies have shown that combining payoffs and probabilities is often distorted by affective responses. In the current study, we hypothesized that affective response to a lottery prize moderates processing of payoffs and probabilities. Attentional engagement (measured by the number of fixations in the eye tracking experiment) was predicted by probability, value of an outcome, and their interaction, but only for affect-poor lottery tickets. A corresponding pattern of results was not observed in affect-rich lottery tickets, suggesting more simplified processing of such lotteries.