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In this two-experiment study, we examined hemispheric differences in emotional inferences. In Experiment One, participants read short passages with either a negatively-valenced (e.g., sad) or positively-valenced (e.g., happy) character state. In a divided visual field paradigm, participants made a lexical decision response in either their left visual field (LVF) or the right visual field (RVF) for target words. In both hemispheres, faster response times were found for negative emotional inferences. In Experiment Two (in progress), participants read short passages which implied either a negatively-valenced or neutral character state in the presence of dissonant music. Participants made a lexical response in either the LVF or the RVF for target words. We predict that the addition of the music stimuli will lead to an increase in facilitation for negatively-valenced inferences in the right hemisphere. In summary, these results are important in helping us develop a more comprehensive model of how the brain processes inferences and how music can influence emotional inferences while performing lexical tasks.
Type of Research
Undergraduate Student - Independent Study