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Encouraging expressions affect the brain and alter visual attention.

Martín-Loeches, Manuel and Sel, Alejandra and Casado, Pilar and Jiménez, Laura and Castellanos, Luis (2009) 'Encouraging expressions affect the brain and alter visual attention.' PLoS One, 4 (6). e5920-e5920. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Background Very often, encouraging or discouraging expressions are used in competitive contexts, such as sports practice, aiming at provoking an emotional reaction on the listener and, consequently, an effect on subsequent cognition and/or performance. However, the actual efficiency of these expressions has not been tested scientifically. Methodology/principal findings To fill this gap, we studied the effects of encouraging, discouraging, and neutral expressions on event-related brain electrical activity during a visual selective attention task in which targets were determined by location, shape, and color. Although the expressions preceded the attentional task, both encouraging and discouraging messages elicited a similar long-lasting brain emotional response present during the visuospatial task. In addition, encouraging expressions were able to alter the customary working pattern of the visual attention system for shape selection in the attended location, increasing the P1 and the SP modulations while simultaneously fading away the SN. Conclusions/significance This was interpreted as an enhancement of the attentional processes for shape in the attended location after an encouraging expression. It can be stated, therefore, that encouraging expressions, as those used in sport practice, as well as in many other contexts and situations, do seem to be efficient in exerting emotional reactions and measurable effects on cognition.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brain; Humans; Facial Expression; Brain Mapping; Language; Affect; Cognition; Visual Perception; Psychomotor Performance; Attention; Evoked Potentials; Adolescent; Adult; Female; Male
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 25 May 2021 12:45
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 10:39
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24904

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