Computational protocol: Linking the Positivity Effect in Attention with Affective Outcomes: Age Group Differences and the Role of Arousal

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Protocol publication

[…] Twenty-one young adults (N = 19 women, 19–28 years, Mage = 21.29 ± 2.31) and nineteen older adults (N = 13 women, 59–77 years, Mage = 69.78 ± 5.98) participated in this study. We expected medium to large statistical effects for interactions between age group, valence and arousal based on previous findings regarding fixation duration (; ) and emotional reactivity (). Unfortunately, G∗Power () is not suited to calculate a priori power analyses for designs with two within-subject factors and one between-subject factor. A power-analysis for a 2 × 2 design [e.g., age group (between) × valence (within)] indicated that we required N = 16 (large effect) to N = 34 (medium sized effect) participants in total to achieve 80% power when employing the traditional 0.05 criterion of statistical significance. For the correlational analyses G∗Power indicated that we would need N = 27 to N = 81 participants to achieve 80% power to detect large to medium sized effects with 0.05 as criterion for statistical significance. Moreover, assuming large effect sizes for the mediational analysis, suggest N = 34 to have 80% power for detecting a significant bias-corrected bootstrapped coefficient. The sample size accords with a priori power analyses for the expected large effect sizes. Still, we aimed at a larger sample to increase chances to detect only medium-sized effects. Unfortunately, the study had to be conducted in a quite narrow time slot and recruitment of (especially older) participants was also difficult. Participants were recruited at the university campus (older adults: guest auditor program for elder persons), adult education centers, via local newspaper advertisements, lists of former participants and student lists. All participants were highly (German Abitur) or intermediately (Mittlere Reife, equivalent to high school level) educated (young adults: 100% Abitur; older adults: 39% Abitur, 44% Mittlere Reife). While young adults received course credit for participation, older adults received no compensation. Young and older adults reported to be healthy, and to have normal or corrected-to-normal vision. Older adults judged their vision and hearing to be slightly worse than young adults (vision: Myoung = 4.6, Mold = 3.7, t(38) = 2.69, p < 0.05; hearing: Myoung = 4.2, Mold = 3.5, t(38) = 3.84, p < 0.05; all items ranging from “1” [very bad] to “5” [very good]). In addition, there were no significant age group differences with respect to self-reported mobility (Myoung = 4.4, Mold = 4.0) or fitness (Myoung = 3.8, Mold = 3.3). This study was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the ethics committee of the German Psychological Society. All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The protocol was approved by the local ethical committee of the University of Hildesheim. [...] Prior to the experiment, participants signed informed consent. To assess general emotional well-being, participants were asked to complete a German translation of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; ) at a laptop using E-prime 1.1 (Psychology Software Tools, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, United States). To this end, participants indicated on a 5-point Likert-scale (ranging from 1 = never to 5 = very often) how frequently they had experienced each of the listed positive and negative emotions during the last year. The positive affect scale consisted of 10 positive emotions (e.g., interested, excited) and showed high internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.81). The same held true for the 10 items of the negative affect scale (e.g., distressed, irritated; Cronbach’s α = 0.78).Measurement of eye-movements and recording of immediate emotional responses took place in a sound-attenuated and dimly illuminated chamber (2 m × 4 m × 2.5 m). The diffuse illumination of the chamber was adopted to the luminance of the screen (50 cd/m2). Participants sat in front of a monitor on a height-adjustable chair and used a height-adjustable chin-rest and a forehead support to ensure stable fixation on the screen. Viewing distance was 100 cm. Participants were informed that they would be viewing a slide show of photographs. They were instructed to view the images as if at home watching television or viewing photographs. Further, they were informed that they would be asked to report how they felt when viewing the picture. Pictures were presented centrally for a duration of 4 s and in a randomized order. To assess subjective emotional reactions, participants were asked, consecutively after each picture, to rate their feelings of pleasantness and arousal while viewing the picture via a digitized version of the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM; ). SAM depicts graphic figures representing different levels of experience of pleasantness and arousal, respectively. The anchors of both 9-point rating scales were labeled with “1” (unpleasant and calm, respectively) and “9” (pleasant and exiting, respectively). Participants responded by pressing defined keys on a standard numerical keyboard with the middle or index finger of their dominant hand. Before each picture, a white fixation cross (20 pixels) was presented centrally for a duration of 1 s and participants were instructed to relax and to clear their mind of any thoughts, emotions, or memories. […]

Pipeline specifications

Software tools G*Power, E-Prime
Applications Miscellaneous, Neuropsychology analysis
Diseases Metabolic Side Effects of Drugs and Substances