Emotion Word Processing: Effects of Word Type and Valence in Spanish–English Bilinguals
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Previous studies comparing emotion and emotion-laden word processing have used various cognitive tasks, including an Affective Simon Task (Altarriba and Basnight-Brown in Int J Billing 15(3):310–328, 2011), lexical decision task (LDT; Kazanas and Altarriba in Am J Psychol, in press), and rapid serial visual processing (Knickerbocker and Altarriba in Vis Cogn 21(5):599–627, 2013). Each of these studies has found significant differences in emotion and emotion-laden word processing. The current study investigated this word type distinction using a bilingual sample, to assess emotion and emotion-laden word processing in a bilingual’s two languages. Sixty Spanish–English bilinguals performed a masked LDT with positive and negative emotion and emotion-laden word pairs, in either Spanish or English. Overall, the four-way interaction of relatedness, word type, valence, and language was significant. Response times (RTs) to emotion words were significantly faster than RTs to emotion-laden words, but only in English. These results indicate that the emotion/emotion-laden word type distinction may be the most robust in a person’s dominant language.
KeywordsEmotion Word type Valence Priming effects Language dominance
Many thanks to Chantae Miller, Nicole Salierno, and Diana Wilkonski for their assistance with data collection.
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