Knjižnica Filozofskog fakulteta
Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Institutional Repository

Automatic stimuli evaluation within the framework of affective tendencies


Downloads per month over past year

Rebernjak, Blaž. (2013). Automatic stimuli evaluation within the framework of affective tendencies. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Psychology.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij psihologije) [mentor Buško, Vesna].

PDF (Croatian)
Download (1MB) | Preview


Introduction Gray's (1972, 2000) reinforcement sensitivity theory postulate the existence of two behavioral systems that are manifested in behavior as individual differences in personality and affectivity – the behavioral activation (BAS) and behavioral inhibition (BIS) system. These hypothetical constructs are defined as coordinated activity between neural circuitry and varying levels of activity of these systems can be manifest in behavior. Active BAS is associated with extraversion and positive affectivity while active BIS is associated with neuroticism and negative affectivity. Individual differences in affective systems can be detected even at the level of automatic processing of affective information. The mechanism of automatic evaluation is used to describe the initial categorization of stimuli as positive or negative. The affective priming phenomenon can be used to detect the differences in automatic evaluation. Individual differences in reactions to positive and negative stimuli in affective priming tasks (processing tendencies) can thus be used as an indication of individual differences in automatic evaluation. There are two hypotheses that could be put forward with respect to the relations between the proposed processing tendencies. The first one–Relevant Primes–is that the individual differences in overall reaction time observed for a prime-target pair can be attributed to prime valence. The second one–Relevant Targets–stresses the importance of target valence in producing individual differences in reaction times. The aim of this study was to connect stable individual differences in automatic affective stimuli processing with individual differences in personality and emotionality. To achieve this, the validity of measures based on affective priming had to be assessed. Approaches based on difference scores and latent difference modeling were used within the framework of confirmatory factor analysis to test the two aforementioned hypotheses about the structure of the processing tendencies. The stability of the individual differences in processing tendencies across a one month period was assessed for the two approaches mentioned above. Latent state-trait approach was used to analyze the nature of the stability effect observed, in terms of stable trait and occasion specific variance sources. Methodology A total of 286 (18.5% males, 81.5% females) first, second and third year undergraduate students at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, participated in the study. They completed the evaluative decision task (EDT) with a total of 180 experimental trial on two occasions separated by about 30 days. Croatian nouns were used as primes and adjectives as targets in a classical EDT with a stimulus onset asynchrony of 150ms and inter-stimulus interval of 2000ms. Participants categorized words as positive or negative by pressing the letters “x” and “m” on the keyboard. The resulting reaction time data was transformed using an inverse normal transformation (Baayen & Milin, 2010) before being analyzed. In addition to the EDT, self-report data was gathered on positive and negative affectivity, extraversion and neuroticism and on behavioral manifestations of the BIS and BAS activity. Results and Discussion The structure of the processing tendencies observed provides support for the Relevant Targets hypothesis mentioned before. General susceptibility to affective priming emerged as a general factor contributing both to positive and negative priming (i.e. in the cases of priming with positive and negative targets). The stability of individual differences across a period of one month was observed to be high both for positive (0.91) and negative (0.71) priming. The stability effect observed could be attributed in a greater extent to occasion specificity than to stable traits for both types of processing tendencies. No relationships were observed between the processing tendencies and self-report measures of affectivity and personality. Arguments are presented based on observed results and that of previous authors in favor of the postlexical interaction mechanism for explaining priming effects as opposed to spreading activation accounts. The discrepancies in results between previous (eg. Robinson et. al., 2010) and current study are explained in terms of methodological differences in approaches used.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: individual differences, affective priming, automatic evaluation, processing tendencies
Subjects: Psychology > Psihologija ličnosti
Departments: Department of Psychology
Supervisor: Buško, Vesna
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij psihologije
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2017 11:40
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 13:28

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item