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Volume 3 Issue 3 (2007)

Emotion and memory: Event-related potential indices predictive for subsequent successful memory depend on the emotional mood state original article

pp. 363-373 | First published on 30 September 2007 | DOI:10.2478/v10053-008-0001-8

Markus Kiefer, Stefanie Schuch, Wolfram Schenck, Klaus Fiedler


The present research investigated the influences of emotional mood states on cognitive processes and neural circuits during long-term memory encoding using event-related potentials (ERPs). We assessed whether the subsequent memory effect (SME), an electrophysiological index of successful memory encoding, varies as a function of participants' current mood state. ERPs were recorded while participants in good or bad mood states were presented with words that had to be memorized for subsequent recall. In contrast to participants in bad mood, participants in good mood most frequently applied elaborative encoding styles. At the neurophysiological level, ERP analyses showed that potentials to subsequently recalled words were more positive than to forgotten words at central electrodes in the time interval of 500-650 ms after stimulus onset (SME). At fronto-central electrodes, a polarity-reversed SME was obtained. The strongest modulations of the SME by participants' mood state were obtained at fronto-temporal electrodes. These differences in the scalp topography of the SME suggest that successful recall relies on partially separable neural circuits for good and bad mood states. The results are consistent with theoretical accounts of the interface between emotion and cognition that propose mood-dependent cognitive styles.

Keywords: episodic memory, emotion, cognitive styles, subsequent memory effect, event-related potentials

Orientation tuning of a two-stimulus afterimage: Implications for theories of filling-in original article

pp. 375-387 | First published on 30 September 2007 | DOI: 10.2478/v10053-008-0002-7

Daniel R. Van Horn, Gregory Francis


Sequential viewing of 2 orthogonally related gratings produces an afterimage related to the first grating (Vidyasagar, Buzas, Kisyarday, & Eysel, 1999; Francis & Rothmayer, 2003). We investigated how the appearance of the afterimage depended on the relative orientations of the 2 stimulus gratings. We first analyze the theoretical explanation of the appearance of the afterimage that was proposed by Francis and Rothameyer (2003). From the analysis, we show that the model must predict a rapid drop in afterimage occurrence as the gratings deviate from orthogonal. We also show that the model predicts that the shape of the afterimage should always be orthogonal to the second grating. We then report on 2 experiments that test the properties of the model and find that the experimental data are strikingly different from the model predictions. From these discrepancies we identify the key deficits of the current version of the model.

Keywords: afterimage, brightness perception, filling-in

The process of spatial knowledge acquisition in a square and a circular virtual environment original article

pp. 389-397 | First published on 30 September 2007 | DOI:10.2478/v10053-008-0003-6

Petra Jansen-Osmann, Martin Heil


This study investigated the effect of the environmental structure (circular vs. square environment) on spatial knowledge acquisition in a desktop virtual situation in which self-determined movement was allowed with a total of 120 participants: 7-, 8-year-old children; 11, 12-year-old children, and adults. In all measurements of spatial knowledge acquisition an overall developmental performance increase from younger children to adults was found. In contrast to that, the exploration and learning behavior did not differ between adults and children. Furthermore, the environmental structure influenced the number of trials needed to learn the two routes used and the distance walked to the determined landmarks. All these tasks were easier in a circular than in a square environment. This influence of the environmental structure was absent in the direction estimations task. The advantage of spatial knowledge acquisition in a circular environment in three of four tasks is discussed.

Keywords: spatial cognition, spatial knowledge, children, development, virtual environments

Further evidence that not all executive functions are equal original article

pp. 399-407 | First published on 30 September 2007 | DOI:10.2478/v10053-008-0004-5

Christopher A. Was


The current study presents a comparison of 2 structural equation models describing the relationship between the executive functions of updating and inhibiting. Although it has been argued that working memory capacity is defined by one's ability to control the focus of attention, the findings of the current study support a view of the executive control of attention that reflects updating and inhibiting as not entirely dependent on the same resources.

Keywords: working memory, executive functions

Conditional accuracy in response interference tasks: Evidence from the Eriksen flanker task and the spatial conflict task original article

pp. 409-417 | First published on 30 September 2007 | DOI:10.2478/v10053-008-0005-4

John F. Stins, Tinca J. C. Polderman, Dorret I. Boomsma, Eco J. C. de Geus


Two well-known response interference tasks are the Eriksen flanker task and the spatial conflict task. The tasks are logically equivalent, and comparable effects of current and previous stimulus type (congruent or incongruent) have been shown with regard to reaction time (RT). Here, we investigated whether interference and sequential trial effects also had comparable effects on accuracy. We specifically tested whether these effects interacted with the speed of responding using conditional accuracy functions (CAFs). The CAFs revealed that in both tasks congruency and sequential trial effects on accuracy are found only in trials with fast responses (< 600 ms). Sequential trial effects on accuracy were weaker for the flanker task than for the spatial conflict task. In very fast trials (< 400 ms) response activation by distracting flankers led to below-chance performance in the flanker task, but response activation by incongruent spatial location did not lead to below-chance performance in the spatial conflict task. The pattern of results hints at subtle differences in processing architecture between the tasks.

Keywords: response interference, sequential analysis, accuracy, Simon task, flanker