Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory

Kyle M. Wilson, Paul N. Russell, Neil R. De Joux, Megan J. Blakely, William S. Helton

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

The impact of negative affect on working memory performance is unclear. Visuospatial and verbal working memory are critical in many settings, but may be impaired during exposure to negative stimuli. In Experiment 1, the impact of task-irrelevant negative picture stimuli on verbal compared to visuospatial working memory performance was investigated. Unexpectedly, visuospatial memory performance was superior for trials containing negative stimuli than trials with neutral stimuli. The impact of negative picture stimuli on visuospatial working memory was further examined in Experiment 2. Performance was again superior for negative stimuli relative to neutral stimuli. While much previous research has reported that negative affect is disruptive of visuospatial working memory, the improved performance found here is consistent with other research particularly where negative or arousing stimuli are thought to increase the pool of available processing resources or effort. Implications for contexts where working memory demands occur alongside distressing stimuli are discussed, as well as future research suggestions.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1419-1423
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2016
EventHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting - , United States
Duration: 19 Sep 201623 Sep 2016
https://www.hfes.org/events/future-and-past-hfes-meetings/2016-hfes-annual-meeting

Fingerprint

stimulus
Data storage equipment
performance
experiment
Experiments
Processing
resources

Cite this

Wilson, K. M., Russell, P. N., De Joux, N. R., Blakely, M. J., & Helton, W. S. (2016). Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 60(1), 1419-1423. https://doi.org/10.1177/1541931213601326
Wilson, Kyle M. ; Russell, Paul N. ; De Joux, Neil R. ; Blakely, Megan J. ; Helton, William S. / Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. 2016 ; Vol. 60, No. 1. pp. 1419-1423.
@article{5cebc7ff702f4ec89e24555d7e4e08ca,
title = "Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory",
abstract = "The impact of negative affect on working memory performance is unclear. Visuospatial and verbal working memory are critical in many settings, but may be impaired during exposure to negative stimuli. In Experiment 1, the impact of task-irrelevant negative picture stimuli on verbal compared to visuospatial working memory performance was investigated. Unexpectedly, visuospatial memory performance was superior for trials containing negative stimuli than trials with neutral stimuli. The impact of negative picture stimuli on visuospatial working memory was further examined in Experiment 2. Performance was again superior for negative stimuli relative to neutral stimuli. While much previous research has reported that negative affect is disruptive of visuospatial working memory, the improved performance found here is consistent with other research particularly where negative or arousing stimuli are thought to increase the pool of available processing resources or effort. Implications for contexts where working memory demands occur alongside distressing stimuli are discussed, as well as future research suggestions.",
author = "Wilson, {Kyle M.} and Russell, {Paul N.} and {De Joux}, {Neil R.} and Blakely, {Megan J.} and Helton, {William S.}",
year = "2016",
month = "9",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1177/1541931213601326",
language = "English",
volume = "60",
pages = "1419--1423",
journal = "Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society",
issn = "1071-1813",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "1",

}

Wilson, KM, Russell, PN, De Joux, NR, Blakely, MJ & Helton, WS 2016, 'Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory', Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 1419-1423. https://doi.org/10.1177/1541931213601326

Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory. / Wilson, Kyle M.; Russell, Paul N.; De Joux, Neil R.; Blakely, Megan J.; Helton, William S.

In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Vol. 60, No. 1, 15.09.2016, p. 1419-1423.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Negative stimuli may improve visuospatial working memory

AU - Wilson, Kyle M.

AU - Russell, Paul N.

AU - De Joux, Neil R.

AU - Blakely, Megan J.

AU - Helton, William S.

PY - 2016/9/15

Y1 - 2016/9/15

N2 - The impact of negative affect on working memory performance is unclear. Visuospatial and verbal working memory are critical in many settings, but may be impaired during exposure to negative stimuli. In Experiment 1, the impact of task-irrelevant negative picture stimuli on verbal compared to visuospatial working memory performance was investigated. Unexpectedly, visuospatial memory performance was superior for trials containing negative stimuli than trials with neutral stimuli. The impact of negative picture stimuli on visuospatial working memory was further examined in Experiment 2. Performance was again superior for negative stimuli relative to neutral stimuli. While much previous research has reported that negative affect is disruptive of visuospatial working memory, the improved performance found here is consistent with other research particularly where negative or arousing stimuli are thought to increase the pool of available processing resources or effort. Implications for contexts where working memory demands occur alongside distressing stimuli are discussed, as well as future research suggestions.

AB - The impact of negative affect on working memory performance is unclear. Visuospatial and verbal working memory are critical in many settings, but may be impaired during exposure to negative stimuli. In Experiment 1, the impact of task-irrelevant negative picture stimuli on verbal compared to visuospatial working memory performance was investigated. Unexpectedly, visuospatial memory performance was superior for trials containing negative stimuli than trials with neutral stimuli. The impact of negative picture stimuli on visuospatial working memory was further examined in Experiment 2. Performance was again superior for negative stimuli relative to neutral stimuli. While much previous research has reported that negative affect is disruptive of visuospatial working memory, the improved performance found here is consistent with other research particularly where negative or arousing stimuli are thought to increase the pool of available processing resources or effort. Implications for contexts where working memory demands occur alongside distressing stimuli are discussed, as well as future research suggestions.

UR - https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/proceedings-of-the-human-factors-and-ergonomics-society-annual-meeting/journal202046#description

U2 - 10.1177/1541931213601326

DO - 10.1177/1541931213601326

M3 - Conference article

VL - 60

SP - 1419

EP - 1423

JO - Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

T2 - Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

JF - Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

SN - 1071-1813

IS - 1

ER -