Emotional arousal enhances word repetition priming.
Three experiments were conducted to determine if emotional content increases repetition priming magnitude. In the study phase of Experiment 1, participants rated high-arousing negative (taboo) words and neutral words for concreteness. In the test phase, they made lexical decision judgements for the studied words intermixed with novel words (half taboo, half neutral) and pseudowords. In Experiment 2, low-arousing negative (LAN) words were substituted for the taboo words, and in Experiment 3 all three word types were used. Results showed significant priming in all experiments, as indicated by faster reaction times for studied words than for novel words. A priming × emotion interaction was found in Experiments 1 and 3, with greater priming for taboo relative to neutral words. The LAN words in Experiments 2 and 3 showed no difference in priming magnitude relative to the other word types. These results show selective enhancement of word repetition priming by emotional arousal.
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