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Doing the unpleasant: How the emotional nature of a threat-relevant task affects task-switching

Authors
Journal
Personality and Individual Differences
0191-8869
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
45
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.05.003
Keywords
  • Emotion
  • Task-Switching
  • Cognitive-Flexibility
  • Individual-Differences
  • Executive Control
Disciplines
  • Law

Abstract

Abstract Much recent work has investigated participants’ ability to switch between simple cognitive tasks. However, little research examines how performing an emotionally relevant task affects one’s ability to switch tasks. Understanding how emotion affects the task-switching process may help elucidate the role of emotion in executive control. Across two experiments, participants alternated predictably between two tasks requiring a perceptual decision about either an aversive spider image or a neutral digit. The results demonstrate that fearful participants evinced accelerated engagement toward, and decelerated disengagement away from, the threat-relevant task.

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