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Attentional Bias in Relation to Negative and Expectancy Violating Stimuli: A Divergence Between Theory and Research

Kinsella, Sean (2018) Attentional Bias in Relation to Negative and Expectancy Violating Stimuli: A Divergence Between Theory and Research. Undergraduate thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Aims: The purpose of this study was to compare attentional orienting responses to both negative and expectancy violating stimuli. This was done in an attempt to reconcile the information theoretic Free Energy Principle (Friston, 2010) account of attention with the established empirical literature. In addition, we sought to explore the relationship between personality traits of neuroticism and psychoticism with responses to expectancy violating stimuli.

Method: Fifteen (n = 15) undergraduate psychology students viewed angry, neutral, and expectancy violating faces, while heart rate and skin temperature indices of orienting were measured. Personality traits were assessed using the Eysenck Personality Scale-Revised (EPQ-R; Eysenck, Eysenck, & Barrett, 1985). Participants also rated the valence of the presented faces using a 7-point likert scale (1 = negative; 7 = positive).

Results: Expectancy violating stimuli resulted in a non-significant reduction in heart rate over negative and neutral faces, M =-2.69, SE = 2.41, p > .05. The expectancy violating faces were also rated significantly more positive than negative faces, M = 2.25, SE = .25, p < .01. No significant relationship was found between physiological measures of orienting and personality traits, although a negative trend was found between orienting and neuroticism for both heart rate (r = -.29) and skin temperature (r = -.32) measures.

Conclusion: Lack of statistical power and choice of orienting measure may have precluded the detection of significant differences between stimuli. Furthermore, the heterogeneous nature of personality traits may have prevented the detection of any statistical relationship with attentional orienting. Implications are discussed below.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Psychology
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2018 12:46
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2018 12:46

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