The role of emotion and attention in semantic processing: Evidence from N400
SourceJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25, , (2013), pp. 65
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
SW OZ DCC BO
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Does emotional state affect language processing? Little yet is known about the interface between language and emotion. With regard to semantic processing we have shown that emotional state modulates the standard N400 effect. In particular, the N400 cloze probability effect was strongly reduced in a sad mood compared to a happy mood (Chwilla, Virgillito, & Vissers, 2011). In the present study we explored the relation between emotion and attention in language comprehension. To this aim we combined an emotion manipulation (inducing a sad mood versus a happy mood) with an attention manipulation (comparing a deep semantic processing task with a shallow processing task) and studied the effects on the N400 cloze effect. The key question was whether the effects of emotional state and attention are additive or interactive. The main findings were as follows: The mood induction was successful. For N400 a three-way interaction between emotional state, attention and cloze probability was observed. For the happy mood condition a task by cloze interaction reflected an N400 effect in the semantic task versus absence of an N400 effect in the shallow processing task. Unexpectedly, for the sad mood condition a clear N400 effect occurred across tasks. Follow up analyses con fi rmed that an N400 effect for the shallow task was present for the sad mood but not for the happy mood condition. The present study reveals different N400 patterns as a function of emotional state and attention, indicating that the effects of emotional state are not fixed but context-dependent.
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