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Data from: The influence of a working memory task on affective perception of facial expressions

Citation

Lim, Seung-Lark; Bruce, Amanda S.; Aupperle, Robin L. (2015), Data from: The influence of a working memory task on affective perception of facial expressions, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q0f8k

Abstract

In a dual-task paradigm, participants performed a spatial location working memory task and a forced two-choice perceptual decision task (neutral vs. fearful) with gradually morphed emotional faces (neutral ~ fearful). Task-irrelevant word distractors (negative, neutral, and control) were experimentally manipulated during spatial working memory encoding. We hypothesized that, if affective perception is influenced by concurrent cognitive load using a working memory task, task-irrelevant emotional distractors would bias subsequent perceptual decision-making on ambiguous facial expression. We found that when either neutral or negative emotional words were presented as task-irrelevant working-memory distractors, participants more frequently reported fearful face perception - but only at the higher emotional intensity levels of morphed faces. Also, the affective perception bias due to negative emotional distractors correlated with a decrease in working memory performance. Taken together, our findings suggest that concurrent working memory load by task-irrelevant distractors has an impact on affective perception of facial expressions.

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