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Dataset: Arousal, subjective significance and the origin of neutrally valenced words in the processing of an emotional categorisation task (E6)

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modified on 2022-12-07, 12:38

An emotional categorisation task allows us to study how emotionality is understood and how emotional factors influence decisions. Of particular interest is the processing of emotionality in neutrally valenced words, because emotionality is not only the valence but is also composed of activation (arousal and subjective significance) and the type of process needed to produce emotion (origin). We predicted that increasing activation levels should lead to increased classification of stimuli as emotional, with a focus on the late processing stages, when explicit word processing occurs, which on the electrophysiological level corresponds to P300, N450 and LPC components. The behavioural results showed that the emotionality of words increased with increasing levels of arousal and subjective significance. Automatically originated words were assessed as more emotional than reflective ones. The amplitude of the N450 component revealed dissociation for subjective significance and origin effects, showing that these two dimensions ascribe distinct properties of emotionality. Finally, the LPC component was susceptible to all affective dimensions used in manipulation. Our study showed that arousal, subjective significance and origin are dimensions of affect that shape the processing of words’ emotionality in neutrally valenced stimuli.