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Poster B60, Wednesday, November 8, 3:00 – 4:15 pm, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Lexical Decision with Emotional Words: A Pupil Dilation Study

Sahura Ertuğrul1, Didem Gökçay2;1Cognitive Science, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, 2Medical Informatics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara

Introduction: Written words are not just black remarks but they enable human beings to connect with the environment via the help of their semantic features. Word frequency and emotion are the most studied semantic features which are known to effect word recognition both behaviorally and physiologically. In this study, the effect of interaction between word frequency and emotion on word recognition was investigated in Turkish. Participants: Data were collected from 20 right handed, native Turkish participants (10 female, 10 male) between ages of 21-32 (M = 26.75, SD = 4.20). Stimuli: Stimulus material consisted of 120 Turkish nouns selected from the TUDADEN (Affective Norm Database for Turkish Words, Gökçay & Smith, 2012). The words were positive (M = 7.81, SD = 0.37), negative (M = 1.97, SD = 0.54), or neutral (M = 5.16, SD = 0.30) in valence and of high (M = 149.53, SD = 62.74) or low frequency (M = 9.49, SD = 3.43), resulting in six categories. The arousal ratings were high (M = 7.14, SD = 0.52) for emotional words while it was neutral (M = 4.51, SD = 0.30) for neutral words. For lexical decision task, 120 pseudowords were generated by Turkish plug in for Wuggy Software (Erten, Bozşahin and Zeyrek, 2013) with OLD20 values (M= 2.32, SD = 0.65). Procedure: The experiment was conducted in dimly lit, sound attenuated chamber. The stimuli were presented in light gray uppercase letters (Arial font, font size 26) on the center of gray screen (R: 106 G: 106 B: 106) in pseudorandomized fashion. In a single trial, a fixation cross (+) appeared at the center of the screen for 1500 ms. After the fixation cross, the stimulus was displayed on the screen for 3000 ms. The stimulus did not disappear with the response; it stayed on the screen throughout 3000 ms. During stimulus presentation, reaction times and pupil diameters were collected with TOBII T120 eye tracker, data rate of 60 Hz, tracking distance of 60 cm. Results: The results show that emotional words have shorter reaction times than neutral ones, F (2, 38) = 6.22, p = .005, r = .87. Meanwhile, high frequency words get faster responses than low frequency words, F (1, 19) = 82.01, p < .0001, r = 1.00. Thus, these reaction time results replicate the main effect of emotion and word frequency on word recognition. Furthermore, there exists a significant interaction between emotion and word frequency which indicate that high frequency, negative words get shorter reaction times than positive and neutral words while low frequency, positive words get the shortest reaction times, F (1.39, 26.43) = 10.19, p = .002, r = .97. However, the pupillary responses support neither the main effect of word frequency, F (1, 19) =.36, p = .56, r =.09, nor emotion, F (2, 38) =.19, p = .83, r =.08. In short, these results suggest that although semantic features have critical influence on behaviors; they are not effective enough to activate pupilllary responses during word recognition.

Topic Area: Perception: Orthographic and Other Visual Processes

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