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Cause and affect: Emotions can be unconsciously and subliminally evoked, study shows
Date:4/28/2008

measure the effect of the images on their cognition, feelings and behavior. For the cognitive measure, they completed word fragments with a variety of words including those that expressed disgust, fear, anger, generally negative, generally positive and neutral feelings. Next, participants rated the overall positivity or negativity of their mood and the extent to which they felt fearful, disgusted, satisfied, relieved, proud, angry, shameful and joyful on 7-point scales.

During the behavioral measure, participants were asked to take part in either a strange food test or a scary movie test, assuming that, for example, those who were exposed to the disgusting images would want to avoid the possibility of eating something unpleasant. At the end of the study, the researchers asked gradually more specific questions about the subliminal images to gauge the participants awareness of the studys purpose and intent.

The intriguing results, which appear in the April issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, strongly support the psychologists theory. Those participants who viewed only the disgust-inducing subliminal images were more likely to use disgust words in the word-completion task, to describe their feelings with the disgust words and to choose to take the scary movie test. The same held true for those who viewed only the fear-inducing imagesthey also were more likely to use words related to fear and to take the strange food test.

The psychologists also found that after quick (120ms) speed exposures to emotional stimuli, a general, negative mood developed accompanied by a specific emotion, such as fear after seeing fearful pictures. After the super-quick (40ms) speed exposure, only a general negative mood was induced without a specific emotion involved. These empirical findings are the first to demonstrate that specific emotions can be evoked without awareness of the cause and that a persons global m
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Contact: Katie Kline
kkline@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300 x133
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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