Finding Patterns in Emotional Information: Enhanced Sensitivity to Statistical Regularities Within Negative Information

Jonas Everaert, Ernst H. W. Koster, Jutta Joormann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In everyday life, people are exposed to continuous flows of emotional information. The ability to organize and segment this continuous input seems critical to understand what is happening around us. This study investigated whether people are sensitive to subtle statistical regularities embedded in flows of emotional information. Experiment 1 showed that people were able to identify regularities in streams of negative visual scenes. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the ability to extract statistical regularities was enhanced for negative compared to neutral visual scenes. Finally, Experiment 3 found that learning of statistical regularities was similar for negative and positive visual scenes. Across these experiments, we found that explicit awareness of regularities did not modulate statistical learning ability. The results of this study help to understand the processes that enable people to make inferences about the complex input of the emotional world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426–435
JournalEmotion
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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