Healthy ageing has been associated to a positivity bias (i.e., greater psychological well-being and reported positive emotions). We investigated to what extent this positivity bias also applies to prioritizing positive information under emotional competition. Old and young adults performed a word-face interference task, in which they responded to the valence of positive and negative targetwords while ignoring happy or angry distractor-faces that could be affectively congruent or incongruent. A control condition with scrambled neutral distractor-faces was also used. Findings showed small facilitation effects with faster responses when targets and distractors were affectively congruent and large interference effects with slower responses when targets and distractors were affectively incongruent compared to the control condition. Importantly, whereas younger adults showed a similar pattern of interference from happy and angry distractor-faces, older adults showed greater interference from angry distractor-faces. The contribution of the present findings is twofold. Firstly, interference is larger than facilitation in both younger and older adults. Secondly and most importantly, whereas young adults show similar interference from happy and angry distractor-faces, older adults show greater interference from angry distractor-faces. The present findings are discussed in the context of emotional bias literature.
It is not always positive: Emotional bias in young and older adults / Pecchinenda, Anna; Giada, Viviani¹; DE LUCA, Francesca; Alla, Yankouskaya². - (2021), p. 25. (Intervento presentato al convegno Experimental Psychology Society tenutosi a online conference).