Recent studies show that emotional stimuli impair performance to subsequently presented neutral stimuli. Here we show a cross-modal perceptual enhancement caused by emotional cues. Auditory cue words were followed by a visually presented neutral target word. Two-alternative forced-choice identification of the visual target was improved by emotional cues as compared to neutral cues. When the cue was presented visually we replicated the emotion-induced impairment found in other studies. Our results suggest emotional stimuli have a twofold effect on perception. They impair perception by reflexively attracting attention at the expense of competing stimuli. However, emotional stimuli also induce a nonspecific perceptual enhancement that carries over onto other stimuli when competition is reduced, for example, by presenting stimuli in different modalities.

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Keywords Cross-modal effects, Emotion, Visual perception, Word recognition, article, brain depth stimulation, controlled study, emotion, evoked auditory response, human, human experiment, normal human, perception, priority journal, vision, word recognition
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.12.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/19933
Citation
Zeelenberg, R., & Bocanegra, B.R.. (2010). Auditory emotional cues enhance visual perception. Cognition, 115(1), 202–206. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2009.12.004