DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.01031

Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报) 2017/49:8 PP.1031-1040

Influence of emotional valence on the spatial simon effect under the vocal response mode

Spatial Simon effect reflects the preference of spatial congruence of stimulus and response location on the information processing when participants respond to a non-spatial stimulus feature, and the emotional valence, among others, may have some influence on this kind of process. Two theories, in which the association of emotional valence and spatial cognition has been inquired in the recent decades, are the body-specificity hypothesis and the polarity coding correspondence. According to the former, people associate positive entities with the dominant hand, or the space surrounding the dominant hand, and negative entities with the space surrounding the non-dominant hand. For the right-handers, they may have the association of good/right and bad/left. Therefore, the valence of the stimulus may have some influence on the spatial Simon effect when the stimulus presented to the left and right side of the screen. While, according to the latter, when the valence of stimulus and response are coded as the same polarity, participants can respond more quickly, and this promoting effect only exists for positive entities.
In the present study, three experiments were conducted to demonstrate the influence of emotional valence on spatial Simon effect under the vocal response conditions. Participants are all right-handers in these experiments. In experiment 1, the classic Simon paradigm variants were used and participants were also asked to carry on a standard Simon task under the vocal response conditions, in order to verify the existence of the spatial Simon effect. Similar to experiment 1, except the stimuli were changed to some brief strokes of facial emotional pictures, experiment 2 was to examine whether irrelevant emotional valence had some influence on the spatial Simon effect. The aim of experiment 3 was to explore whether the relevant emotional valence of stimuli had some influence on the spatial Simon effect. The dependent variables, across all the above experiments, are the response time and accuracy rate.
As a result, the experiment 1 confirmed the existence of spatial Simon effect under the vocal response condition, and in Experiment 2, the spatial Simon effect still emerged, which means that the effect was not influenced by the irrelevant emotional valence. In experiment 3, more informatively, the relevant emotional valence had certain influence on the spatial Simon effect, especially for positive items, the spatial Simon effect disappeared for positive items but still emerged significantly for the negative items. In order to further clarify the mechanism behind this influence and explicit the role of the association of good/right and bad/left and polarity coding correspondence, we conducted a combination analysis of 2 (space/valence mapping:mapping, un-mapping)×2 (emotional valence:positive, negative)×2 (correspondence:correspondence, non-correspondence), the result showed that, in the mapping group, the correspondence responses were significantly faster than the non-correspondence, while in un-mapping group, the spatial Simon effect reversed, i.e., the non-correspondence responses were significantly faster than the correspondences.
In conclusion, it can be concluded that the spatial Simon effect has not been disrupted by any different response ways; Emotional valence has some influence on spatial Simon effect when the emotional features are relevant to the response selections, which can be explained by the polarity-coding correspondence theory, and also partially in consistent with the body-specificity hypothesis.

Key words:spatial Simon effect,vocal response,emotional valence,polarity correspondence coding,body-specificity hypothesis

ReleaseDate:2017-08-31 10:09:55

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