Affect-congruent approach and withdrawal movements of happy and angry faces facilitate affective categorisation
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SourceCognition & Emotion, 24, 5, (2010), pp. 863-875
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
SW OZ BSI ON
Cognition & Emotion
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Social Development
Increasing evidence indicates that evaluation of affective stimuli facilitates the execution of affect-congruent approach and avoidance responses, and vice versa. These effects are proposed to be mediated by increases or decreases in the relative distance to the stimulus, due to the participant's action. In a series of experiments we investigated whether stimulus categorisation is similarly influenced when changes in this relative distance are due to movement of the stimulus instead of movements by the participant. Participants responded to happy and angry faces that appeared to approach (move towards) or withdraw (move away) from them. In line with previous findings, affective categorisation was facilitated when the movement was congruent with stimulus valence, resulting in faster and more correct responses to approaching happy and withdrawing angry faces. These findings suggest that relative distance indeed plays a crucial role in approach-avoidance congruency effects, and that these effects do not depend on the execution of movements by the participant.
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