Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 748–758 | Cite as

Contrasting the effects of suboptimally versus optimally presented affect primes on effort-related cardiac response

  • Ruta Lasauskaite Schüpbach
  • Guido H. E. Gendolla
  • Nicolas Silvestrini
Original Paper


Participants worked on an easy versus difficult arithmetic task with integrated happiness versus sadness primes, presented either suboptimally (briefly and masked) or optimally (long and visible). As predicted by the IAPE model (Gendolla in International Journal of Psychophysiology 86:123–135, 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2012.05.003), the affect primes moderated the task difficulty effect on mental effort in the suboptimal-prime condition: cardiac pre-ejection period response was stronger in the happiness/difficult than in the sadness/difficult condition and tended to be stronger in the sadness-easy than in the happiness-easy condition. These effects were reversed in the optimal-prime-presentation condition, suggesting behavior correction due to controlled prime processing. Moreover, neither suboptimally nor optimally presented affect primes had prime-congruent effects on conscious mood assessed via self-report. The results demonstrate differential effects of implicitly versus explicitly processed affect cues on mental effort and suggest that they can do so without inducing emotional feelings.


Cardiovascular reactivity Implicit affect Priming Mental effort IAPE model 



This research was supported by a research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded to the second author (SNF 100014-131760/1). We thank Audrey Bridy for her help as a hired experimenter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruta Lasauskaite Schüpbach
    • 1
  • Guido H. E. Gendolla
    • 1
  • Nicolas Silvestrini
    • 1
  1. 1.Geneva Motivation Lab, FPSE, Department of PsychologyUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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