The Emotional Unconscious

by F.

According to PsyBlog,

Kent Berridge at the University of Michigan has carried out some interesting research into the emotional unconscious. But despite some good evidence, Berridge & Winkielman (2003) make the point that the existence of unconscious emotions is still controversial….

In the first study Berridge & Winkielman (2003) report, Winkielman, Berridge & Wilbarger (2000) exposed participants to subliminal emotional cues in facial expressions while they thought they were engaged in a study about gender. They then allowed their participants to ‘interact’ with a fruit-flavoured drink.

The results showed that those who were thirsty and exposed to happy faces drank 50% more of the drink than neutrally primed participants. The mirror effect was seen for the negative-primed participants. Importantly, participants were not aware of the priming and were not aware of being in a better or worse mood depending on their priming condition. Further, the priming conditions had no effect on participants who weren’t thirsty.

A similar paradigm was used in Winkielman et al.’s (2000) second study. Here, though, instead of focussing on the amount of drink, participants evaluated the drink. Again, the subliminal priming had the same effect on subjective ratings of the drink. But, this time participants completed a 20-item PANAS scale before and after the subliminal priming and no differences were found.

The rest is here.

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