The mechanisms through which emotional stimuli are processed in working memory (WM) are still poorly understood. In a previous study we found that when emotional and neutral stimuli are presented within the same trial, visuo-spatial WM performance (evaluated in an object-relocation task) is affected by the valence dimension, but not by the arousal dimension (Costanzi et al., 2019). According to Baddeley and Hitch’s model, working memory (1974, 1986) consists of a central executive (CE) and at least two additional subsystems, specifically the “phonological loop” (PL) and the “visuo-spatial sketchpad” (VSSP). The aim of the present research was to investigate the role of the CE and the VSSP in shaping the advantage for emotionally-valenced stimuli in visuo-spatial WM. Three groups of participants watched eight black rectangles appear simultaneously on a computer screen; this was immediately followed by the sequential presentation of eight pictures selected from the International Affective Picture System superimposed onto each rectangle. Pictures differed in valence (negative vs neutral), but not in arousal levels. During encoding, one group of participants (n=30) was submitted to a concurrent task interfering with the CE; the second group (n=26) performed a concurrent tapping task known to affect the VSSP; the third one (n=26) was a control group with no concurrent tasks. Immediately after encoding, all participants had to relocate each rectangle to its original position. Results showed that rectangles that had been associated with negative pictures were better relocated than those associated with neutral ones and that interfering with the CE impaired spatial WM performance. The concurrent tapping task, on the other hand, had no statistically significant effect, although its tendency to moderate the effect of valence deserves further investigation. Taken together, results suggest that emotional valence might affect spatial working memory performance through both automatic and executive processes.

Emotional Valence and Working Memory Performance: Effect of Concurrent Interference in a Spatial Object-Location Task / Cianfanelli, Beatrice; Esposito, Antonino; Santirocchi, Alessandro; Cestari, Vincenzo; Clelia, Rossi-Arnaud; Costanzi, Marco. - (2021). ((Intervento presentato al convegno European Workshop on Imagery and Cognition tenutosi a online.

Emotional Valence and Working Memory Performance: Effect of Concurrent Interference in a Spatial Object-Location Task

Alessandro Santirocchi;Vincenzo Cestari;Clelia Rossi-Arnaud;
2021

Abstract

The mechanisms through which emotional stimuli are processed in working memory (WM) are still poorly understood. In a previous study we found that when emotional and neutral stimuli are presented within the same trial, visuo-spatial WM performance (evaluated in an object-relocation task) is affected by the valence dimension, but not by the arousal dimension (Costanzi et al., 2019). According to Baddeley and Hitch’s model, working memory (1974, 1986) consists of a central executive (CE) and at least two additional subsystems, specifically the “phonological loop” (PL) and the “visuo-spatial sketchpad” (VSSP). The aim of the present research was to investigate the role of the CE and the VSSP in shaping the advantage for emotionally-valenced stimuli in visuo-spatial WM. Three groups of participants watched eight black rectangles appear simultaneously on a computer screen; this was immediately followed by the sequential presentation of eight pictures selected from the International Affective Picture System superimposed onto each rectangle. Pictures differed in valence (negative vs neutral), but not in arousal levels. During encoding, one group of participants (n=30) was submitted to a concurrent task interfering with the CE; the second group (n=26) performed a concurrent tapping task known to affect the VSSP; the third one (n=26) was a control group with no concurrent tasks. Immediately after encoding, all participants had to relocate each rectangle to its original position. Results showed that rectangles that had been associated with negative pictures were better relocated than those associated with neutral ones and that interfering with the CE impaired spatial WM performance. The concurrent tapping task, on the other hand, had no statistically significant effect, although its tendency to moderate the effect of valence deserves further investigation. Taken together, results suggest that emotional valence might affect spatial working memory performance through both automatic and executive processes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1570954
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