• 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.