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Heim, Sabine; Ihssen, Niklas; Hasselhorn, Marcus; Keil, Andreas:

Early adolescents show sustained susceptibility to cognitive interference by emotional distractors

In: Cognition and Emotion, 27 (2013) 4 , 696-706


Document type
3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)

Aufmerksamkeit, Beeinflussung, Bild, Deutschland, Emotion, Entscheidung, Experimentelle Untersuchung, Jugendlicher, Mädchen, Test, Wort

A child's ability to continuously pay attention to a cognitive task is often challenged by distracting events. Distraction is especially detrimental in a learning or classroom environment in which attended information is typically associated with establishing skills and knowledge. Here we report a study examining the effect of emotional distractors on performance in a subsequent visual lexical decision task in 11- to 13-year-old students (n30). Lexical decisions about neutral verbs and verblike pseudowords (i.e., targets) were analysed as a function of the preceding distractor type (pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant photos) and the picturetarget stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA; 200 or 600 ms). Across distractor categories, emotionally arousing pictures prolonged decisions about word targets when compared to neutral pictures, irrespective of the SOA. The present results demonstrate that similar to adults, early adolescent students exhibit sustained susceptibility to cognitive interference by irrelevant emotional events.

Education and Human Development