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Affective bias in visual working memory is associated with capacity
Xie, Weizhen1,2; Li, Huanhuan2,3; Ying, Xiangyu2; Zhu, Shiyou2; Fu, Rong2,4; Zou, Yingmin2,5; Cui, Yanyan2
First AuthorXie, Weizhen
Source PublicationCOGNITION & EMOTION
Correspondent Emailweizhen xie ; huanhuan li
Contribution Rank3

How does the affective nature of task stimuli modulate working memory (WM)? This study investigates whether WM maintains emotional information in a biased manner to meet the motivational principle of approaching positivity and avoiding negativity by retaining more approach-related positive content over avoidance-related negative content. This bias may exist regardless of individual differences in WM functionality, as indexed by WM capacity (overall bias hypothesis). Alternatively, this bias may be contingent on WM capacity (capacity-based hypothesis), in which a better WM system may be more likely to reveal an adaptive bias. In two experiments, participants performed change localisation tasks with emotional and non-emotional stimuli to estimate the number of items that they could retain for each of those stimuli. Although participants did not seem to remember one type of emotional content (e.g. happy faces) better than the other type of emotional content (e.g. sad faces), there was a significant correlation between WM capacity and affective bias. Specifically, participants with higher WM capacity for non-emotional stimuli (colours or line-drawing symbols) tended to maintain more happy faces over sad faces. These findings demonstrated the presence of a "built-in" affective bias in WM as a function of its systematic limitations, favouring the capacity-based hypothesis.

KeywordEmotion Working Memory Capacity Affective Bias
Indexed BySSCI ; SSCI
Funding OrganizationNational Science Fundation of China(81401120) ; Basic Research Funds in Renmin University of China from the Central Government of China(12XNLJ05 ; Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences ; 15XNB031)
WOS Research AreaPsychology
WOS SubjectPsychology, Experimental
WOS IDWOS:000416604300004
WOS HeadingsSocial Sciences
WOS KeywordShort-term-memory ; Individual-differences ; Emotional Information ; Fluid Intelligence ; Suicidal Ideation ; Positive Emotion ; Attention ; Stimuli ; Representations ; Schizophrenia
Citation statistics
Document Type期刊论文
Affiliation1.Univ Calif Riverside, Dept Psychol, Riverside, CA 92521 USA
2.Renmin Univ China, Dept Psychol, Beijing, Peoples R China
3.Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Psychol, Beijing, Peoples R China
4.Boston Univ, Dept Psychol & Brain Sci, Boston, MA 02215 USA
5.Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Psychol, Key Lab Mental Hlth, Neuropsychol & Appl Cognit Neurosci Lab, Beijing, Peoples R China
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Xie, Weizhen,Li, Huanhuan,Ying, Xiangyu,et al. Affective bias in visual working memory is associated with capacity[J]. COGNITION & EMOTION,2017,31(7):1345-1360.
APA Xie, Weizhen.,Li, Huanhuan.,Ying, Xiangyu.,Zhu, Shiyou.,Fu, Rong.,...&Cui, Yanyan.(2017).Affective bias in visual working memory is associated with capacity.COGNITION & EMOTION,31(7),1345-1360.
MLA Xie, Weizhen,et al."Affective bias in visual working memory is associated with capacity".COGNITION & EMOTION 31.7(2017):1345-1360.
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