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Anxiety and visual-spatial memory updating in young children: An investigation using emotional facial expressions.

Domenii publicaţii > Ştiinţe medicale + Tipuri publicaţii > Articol în revistã ştiinţificã

Autori: Visu-Petra, L., Tincas, I, Cheie, L., & Benga, O.

Editorial: N. Derakshan, M.W. Eysenck., Taylor & Francis, Cognition & Emotion, 24(2), p.223-240, 2010.


The present study investigated the relationship between anxiety and memory updating in a sample of high- and low-trait-anxious preschoolers (HA and LA, respectively). Updating of spatial locations was assessed with the original (non-emotional) Odd-One-Out task (Alloway, 2007), and with a new emotional version. Simple detection and memory updating of visual information was tested using a modified version of an adult affective memory task (Perlstein, Elbert, & Stenger, 2002). The emotional stimuli in both tasks consisted of angry, happy and neutral facial expressions. Results indicated that in the spatial task, accuracy was related to children’s age and IQ, but no anxiety-related differences were found. In the visual-search task, all children were faster in the detecting versus updating condition, and slower in detecting neutral, compared to emotional faces. The two anxiety groups had similar levels of accuracy, but HA children had overall slower reaction times. Compared to LA children, HA children were slower and less accurate in detecting and updating happy faces, but more accurate in responses to angry faces. Looking at within-group differences according to stimulus valence, LA children were less accurate in response to angry (relative to happy and neutral) faces, while HA children were less accurate in response to happy (relative to neutral) facial expressions. The results are placed in a developmental context and discussed within the framework of attentional control theory (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007).

Cuvinte cheie: Children; Anxiety; Visual-spatial working memory; Updating; Emotional facial expressions