You grew up in Toronto, Canada.
Email Here's the scene: You've seen a flash of nudity on the telly just as your sweetie walks in the room, and you don't even notice the love of your life. It's a bad scene, but hey, you're innocent. You've just been hit by something researchers call "emotion-induced blindness.
Psychologists at Vanderbilt and Yale universities have been studying the effect that highly emotional images have on our perception of the world around us.
And they've found convincing evidence that the human brain just can't process information that it receives immediately after seeing a violent or erotic scene.
We're talking real short term here, around a fifth to a half a second, but given the speed of today's society, that may be enough to worry about. A fast-moving vehicle, for example, can travel a significant distance in that brief span of time. Split-Second Distraction Psychologists David Zald of Vanderbilt, and Steven Most, Marvin Chun and David Widders of Yale, started by looking at the effect of gory images, like a fatal traffic accident, on the brain's ability to process subsequent information.
They programmed a computer to show a series of images in rapid succession. Each image was shown for precisely milliseconds oneth of a second. Most of the images were neutral, thus requiring no or very little emotional response, but every now and then they tossed in a gory scene.
The computer also flashed pictures of a building lying on its side, and participants in the project were told to indicate with an arrow key which way the building was lying.
Monoamine neurotransmitter. Monoamine neurotransmitters are a class of neurotransmitters containing one amino group connected to an aromatic ring by a carbon–carbon chain. For example, emotion-induced blindness refers to a phenomenon in which people fail to see things that appear right after an emotionally engaging picture or word – even when the targets appear. For example, the behavioral measure of emotion-induced blindness did not interact with attentional set; this is somewhat different than results of an earlier study, where adopting a specific attentional set decreased emotion-induced blindness among low harm-avoidant participants but not among high harm-avoidant participants (Most et al., a.
That's a pretty easy task, but if the building came a fraction of a second after a gory image, the participants missed it entirely. The biggest effect came if the building followed the gory scene by milliseconds, or one-fifth of a second. Was it the negative nature of the image that caused the temporary "blindness," or would an arousing scene do the same thing?
To find out, they ran the same experiments over again, this time using erotic material just before the toppled building. And they got the same result.
If the participants had been slow to respond, it would simply mean they had been distracted by the emotional images, and soon recovered. But the fact that they never even saw the image of the building lying on its side is very significant.
Cautious Persons More Susceptible It's also significant, the researchers report in the August issue of Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, that there were personal differences among the participants in their ability to see the image showing the building lying on its side.
The lead author of that report is Yale's Most. Some participants were more susceptible to the emotional images than others. Participants in the research were tested to see if they rank high in "harm avoidance," meaning they are cautious and want to avoid situations in which they could be hurt, or if they rank low, meaning they are more carefree and willing to take a risk.
So far more than persons have been tested, and the researchers say the results are clear. The more cautious participants, those who wanted the most to avoid personal harm, suffered more from temporary blindness than those who were more willing to take a chance.
The purpose of the research, of course, is to delve into the workings of the human brain. But there's a practical side to it as well. Our response to highly emotional stimuli could be dangerous. So we need to pay attention to both of those, but that imposes some risks.
At our high-paced speed today, it's possible it becomes detrimental.Research Directory. This Directory is a compendium of the names of scholars who are actively engaged in social scientific or humanities-based research on .
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Emotion Induced Blindness Is More Sensitive to Changes in Arousal As Compared to Valence of the Emotional Distractor. Frontiers in Psychology, Thomas, T., & Sunny, M. M. (). type of emotion-induced AB indexes the ability of emotional stimuli to rapidly capture attention.
Most and colleagues () provided an early description of the EAB, and coined the term emotion-induced blindness.