• Contrasting vertical and horizontal representations of affect in emotional visual search

      Damjanovic, Ljubica; Santiago, Julio (2015-06-24)
      Independent lines of evidence suggest that the representation of emotional evaluation recruits both vertical and horizontal spatial mappings. These two spatial mappings differ in their experiential origins and their productivity, and available data suggest that they differ in their saliency. Yet, no study has so far compared their relative strength in an attentional orienting reaction time task that affords the simultaneous manifestation of both of them. Here we investigated this question using a visual search task with emotional faces. We presented angry and happy face targets and neutral distracter faces in top, bottom, left, and right locations on the computer screen. Conceptual congruency effects were observed along the vertical dimension supporting the ‘up=good’ metaphor, but not along the horizontal dimension. This asymmetrical processing pattern was observed when faces were presented in a cropped (Experiment 1) and whole (Experiment 2) format. These findings suggest that the ‘up=good’ metaphor is more salient and readily activated than the ‘right=good’ metaphor, and that the former outcompetes the latter when the task context affords the simultaneous activation of both mappings.
    • Enhanced threat detection in experienced riot police officers: Cognitive evidence from the face-in-the-crowd effect

      Damjanovic, Ljubica; Pinkham, Amy E.; Clarke, Philip; Phillips, Jeremy; University of Chester; Southern Methodist University (Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2013-10-24)
      We explored how varying levels of professional expertise in hostile crowd management could enhance threat detection capabilities as assessed by the face in the crowd paradigm. Trainee police officers and more experienced police officers specialized in, and having extensive experience with, riot control, were compared with participants with no experience in hostile crowd management on their search times and accuracy levels in detecting angry and happy face targets against a display of emotional and neutral dis- tractor faces. The experienced officers relative to their trainee counterparts and nonpolice controls showed enhanced detection for threatening faces in both types of display along with a greater degree of inhibitory control over angry face distractors. These findings help to reinforce the ecological validity of the face in the crowd paradigm and provide a new theoretical link for the role of individual differences on the attentional processing of socially relevant stimuli.
    • Learning to Think in a Second Language: Effects of Proficiency and Length of Exposure in English Learners of German

      Athanasopoulos, Panos; Damjanovic, Ljubica; Burnand, Julie; Bylund, Emanuel; University of Chester (Wiley, 2015-01-29)
      The aim of the current study is to investigate motion event cognition in second language learners in a higher education context. Based on recent findings that speakers of grammatical aspect languages like English attend less to the endpoint (goal) of events than do speakers of non-aspect languages like Swedish in a nonverbal categorization task involving working memory (Athanasopoulos & Bylund, 2013; Bylund & Athanasopoulos, 2015), the current study asks whether native speakers of an aspect language start paying more attention to event endpoints when learning a non-aspect language. Native English and German (a non-aspect language) speakers, and English learners of L2 German, who were pursuing studies in German language and literature at an English university, were asked to match a target scene with intermediate degree of endpoint orientation with two alternate scenes with low and high degree of endpoint orientation, respectively. Results showed that, compared to the native English speakers, the learners of German were more prone to base their similarity judgements on endpoint saliency, rather than ongoingness, primarily as a function of increasing L2 proficiency and year of university study. Further analyses revealed a non-linear relationship between length of L2 exposure and categorization patterns, subserved by a progressive strengthening of the relationship between L2 proficiency and categorization as length of exposure increased. These findings present evidence that cognitive restructuring may occur through increasing experience with an L2, but also suggest that this relationship may be complex and unfold over a long period of time.
    • Sweet Emotion: The Role of Odor-Induced Context in the Search Advantage for Happy Facial Expressions

      Damjanovic, Ljubica; Wilkinson, Heather; Lloyd, Julie; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2017-12-23)
      The current study investigated the extent to which the concurrent presentation of pleasant and unpleasant odors could modulate the perceptual saliency of happy facial expressions in an emotional visual search task. Whilst a search advantage for happy faces was found in the no odor and unpleasant odor conditions, it was abolished under the pleasant odor condition. Furthermore, phasic properties of visual search performance revealed the malleable nature of this happiness advantage. Specifically, attention towards happy faces was optimized at the start of the visual search task for participants presented with pleasant odors, but diminished towards the end. This pattern was reversed for participants in the unpleasant odor condition. These patterns occur through the emotion-inducing capacities of odors and highlight the circumstances in which top-down factors can override perceptually salient facial features in emotional visual search.
    • Two languages, two minds: Flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation

      Athanasopoulos, Panos; Bylund, Emanuel; Montero-Melis, Guillermo; Damjanovic, Ljubica; Schartner, Alina; Kibbe, Alexandra; Riches, Nick; Thierry, Guillaume; Lancaster University ; Stockholm University ; Stockholm University ; University of Chester ; Newcastle University ; Otto von Guericke University ; Newcastle University ; University of Bangor (SAGE, 2015-03-06)
      People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently?