Emotional Influences on Spatial Attention

Academic Article


  • The relationships between the anterior-posterior and left-right regions of the brain have been characterized as mutually inhibitory. Whereas the left hemisphere attends to right proximal hemispace and is associated with positive emotions, the right hemisphere attends to left distal hemispace and is associated with negative emotions. Because of the excitatory and inhibitory influences between the left and right frontal and posterior regions of the brain, the expression of emotion will result in an ipsilateral attentional bias. Given these functional systems, we hypothesized that positive emotions would be associated with a bias for left distal hemispace and negative emotions would be associated with a bias for right proximal hemispace. We tested these hypotheses by having 138 undergraduate students place emotionally labeled pegs on a large board. Our results indicated that the positively labeled pegs were placed in left distal hemispace and the relative placement of negatively labeled pegs was rightward and proximally. Whereas numerous research investigations have examined how attention is biased for emotional stimuli, ours is the first investigation to provide evidence that emotions can bias attentional allocation. © 2008 American Psychological Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuropsychology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20930600
  • Author List

  • Foster PS; Drago V; Webster DG; Harrison DW; Crucian GP; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 127
  • End Page

  • 135
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 1