ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (1): 26-37.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00026

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


黄月胜1(), 张豹2(), 范兴华1, 黄杰1   

  1. 1湖南第一师范学院教育科学学院/儿童心理发育与脑认知科学湖南省重点实验室, 长沙 410205
    2广州大学教育学院/心理与脑科学研究中心, 广州 510006
  • 收稿日期:2019-10-08 出版日期:2021-01-25 发布日期:2020-11-24
  • 通讯作者: 黄月胜,张豹;
  • 基金资助:
    * 教育部人文社会科学研究青年基金项目(15YJC190007);湖南省重点实验室项目(2019TP032);广州大学青年拔尖人才计划项目(BJ201720)

Can negative emotion of task-irrelevant working memory representation affect its attentional capture? A study of eye movements

HUANG Yuesheng1(), ZHANG Bao2(), FAN Xinhua1, HUANG Jie1   

  1. 1School of Educational Science / Hunan Key Laboratory of Children’s Psychological Development and Brain Cognitive Science, Hunan First Normal University, Changsha 410205, China
    2School of Education / The Center for Mind and Brain, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2019-10-08 Online:2021-01-25 Published:2020-11-24
  • Contact: HUANG Yuesheng,ZHANG Bao;


研究通过分析视觉搜索任务的首次注视点和行为反应时, 探讨无关工作记忆表征的负性情绪信息对视觉注意选择的影响。实验1发现在反映早期注意选择的首次注视点百分率指标上, 不管工作记忆表征的情绪效价如何, 均出现了显著的注意捕获效应; 实验2发现当采用中性情绪靶子刺激时, 首次注视点百分率指标上仍表现出了稳健的注意捕获效应; 在首次注视点持续时间指标上, 实验1和实验2均发现记忆匹配条件的干扰刺激显著小于控制条件的干扰刺激, 表现出注意的快速脱离; 而在行为反应时指标上, 早期的注意捕获效应消失(实验1), 甚至被反转为注意抑制效应(实验2)。这些结果表明在早期注意选择阶段, 记忆驱动的注意捕获效应不受工作记忆表征情绪效价的影响, 但认知控制会在早期注意捕获之后促使注意快速脱离记忆匹配的干扰刺激, 其作用效果受靶子刺激情绪效价的调节。

关键词: 认知控制, 情绪工作记忆, 注意捕获效应, 注意抑制效应


Task-irrelevant negative emotional stimuli can divert attention away from the current task, thus resulting in lower performance on the current task. This attentional bias to task-irrelevant emotional stimuli was explained by the hypothesis in the aspects of the automatic processing of emotional information, the attentional biased competition or the perceptual load. Despite increasing studies showed that attention could be caught by task-irrelevant representations maintained in working memory (i.e., memory-driven attentional capture), there have been few, if any, studies specifically examining attentional capture by representations of negative emotional stimuli in working memory. Such issue is helpful for better understanding the mechanism of visual attentional capture of unwanted memory (such as intrusive memory), which has important clinical implications for individuals with traumatic experiences or emotional disorders.
In this study, a dual-task paradigm consisting of a working memory task and a visual search task was performed with emotional pictures as stimuli. Beyond the end-of-search manual reaction times, the first fixation proportion was used to investigate the effects of the representations of task-irrelevant negative emotional stimuli on attentional selection at early stage of visual search task. In experiment 1, the effects of the valence (negative vs. neutral) of task-irrelevant emotional stimuli on attentional capture were investigated. In experiment 2, neutral emotional stimuli were used as the target in order to eliminate the competitive priority for emotional targets over the distractors. In addition, such manipulation could get an opportunity to compare the difference in attentional capture induced by negative emotional distractors between perceptual level and working memory level.
The results showed that (1) negative emotional distractors elicit stronger attentional capture than neutral ones when no memory-matched distractor was included in the visual search display; (2) memory-matched distractors caught more attention than those that do not match the representations in working memory, indicating memory-driven attentional capture; (3) the memory-driven attentional capture was not affected by the emotional valence of representations in working memory; and (4) as indicated by the dwell time of the first fixation, after being caught by the memory-matched distractors, attention was accelerated to disengage from those distractors, so that the attentional capture effect indicated by the reaction time was suppressed (in Experiment 1) and even reversed (in Experiment 2).
It can be concluded that (1) in the early attentional selection stage, memory-driven attentional capture is not affected by the valence of task-irrelevant emotional stimuli in working memory; and (2) after the early attentional capture stage, cognitive control prompts attention to quickly disengage from the memory-matched distractors, and its effect is modulated by the emotional valence of target.

Key words: cognitive control, emotional working memory, attentional capture effect, attentional suppression effect, eye tracking technique