Human cognitive neuroscience seminar

Speaker: Nicolas Pillaud (PhD Candidate in Psychology, Universite de Bordeaux)

Title: Being Moved by Core Affect: Generalized Approach/Avoidance Responses of Unconscious Affective Stimuli

Abstract: Affective stimuli are expected to promote avoidance or avoidance reactions as a function of their valence. Importantly, these effects appear to be relatively automatic as they have been observed in conditions in which behavioral reactions were not relevant for the task at hand as well as in conditions when their presentation was strongly degraded (i.e., subliminal presentation). However, in these studies, approach/avoidance reactions have been measured toward the very affective stimuli participants were exposed, suggesting that the behavioral reactions are necessarily directed toward affect-eliciting stimulus. The present studies were aimed at testing the possibility that incidental affect conveyed by an auditory stimulation can trigger behavioral reactions toward visual unrelated neutral stimuli. Moreover, we tested whether increasing physiological arousal would increase these behavioral reactions. Together, the results of the two studies revealed that degraded (nonconscious) auditory affective stimuli impact approach/avoidance behavior toward neutral visual stimuli. In addition, Exp. 2 indicates that these effects are more marked when participants are physiologically aroused. These results replicate previous results indicating that degraded affective stimuli trigger approach/avoidance responses and further extend these findings by showing that they can be induced incidentally across perceptual modalities and are strengthened by arousal.


The seminars are organised by the Human Cognitive Neuroscience research group. For further information, or if you would like to join the e-mail list for these seminars, please email Andreea Stamate or Carolane Hélin.

Human cognitive neuroscience

Andreea Stamate

Carolane Hélin

Feb 20 2019 -

Human cognitive neuroscience seminar

2019-02-20: Being Moved by Core Affect: Generalized Approach/Avoidance Responses of Unconscious Affective Stimuli

Lecture Theatre F21, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ