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Thesis title
Keep your head up: The vertical representation of affect

Bachelor Thesis by Christopher B. Germann (PhD, Msc, BSc / Marie Curie Fellow)

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Abstract

We examined whether experimentally induced affective states (positive vs. negative mood induced by film clips) bias subsequent performance in a series of visual target detection tasks. Because affective conceptual metaphors consistently indicate that positive affect is associated with high spatial positions (e.g. feeling “high”) and negative affect with low spatial positions, we predicted that positive mood facilitates target detection in the upper visual field relative to target detection in the lower visual field. Consequently, we expected that negative mood facilitates target detection in the lower visual field as compared to target detection in the upper visual field (Experiment 1 and 2). In addition, Experiment 1 empirically investigated the idea that affective states exert significant effects on perceptual judgments related to horizontality. We hypothesised that positive mood facilitates target detection in the right visual field compared to target detection in the left visual field. Vice versa, an orthogonal perceptual bias was postulated for the right visual field. This last hypothesis was, inter alia, motivated by the neuropsychological valence model of hemispherically latealised (asymetric) processing of emotion perception. Results are discussed within the generic theoretical framework of embodied cognition.

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