Effects of motivationally significant stimuli on the regulation of dominant responses.
In 4 experiments, Ss responded as quickly as possible to indicate whether character strings consisted of letters or numbers. Following a warning stimulus that was or was not designed to trigger a motivational-emotional response in particular subgroups (viz., those with high anxiety, discrepant self-concepts, and eating disorders), strings were presented in a central (dominant) location on 75% of the trials or in 1 of 4 peripheral (nondominant) locations. Consistent with hypotheses, response times to peripherally located strings were significantly slower following motivationally significant than following neutral warning stimuli. Contrary to hypotheses, such stimuli did not facilitate responding to centrally located strings. It is proposed that motivationally significant stimuli engender a temporary reduction in control processing that hinders regulation of dominant responses.
Newman, JP; Wallace, JF; Strauman, TJ; Skolaski, RL; Oreland, KM; Mattek, PW; Elder, KA; McNeely, J
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