The relationship between self-prioritization, reward-prioritization and emotion-prioritization effects; an EEG study.

Authors: Lovett, G.

Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and Technology


Human behaviour is biased in many ways. Three key influential factors that affect the way we prioritise our behaviour (even at a perceptual level), are high-reward, self-relevance and positive-emotions. Literature surrounding these perceptual drivers, yields inconsistent evidence towards the relationship between them (Björn, Moritz de, Ulrike, Claus, & Georg, 2009) ;Yankouskaya et al., (2018). The current study used a novel approach to investigate the relationship between basic effects of self-reference, reward and emotion on perception. Nineteen adults, (eleven females) between 18 and 38 years old, participated in three variants of an associative-matching-task from Sui, He, & Humphreys, (2012). Whereby participants learnt shape-label matches between; self or stranger, £8 or £2 and happy or neutral labels, in addition we recorded EEG from 64 electrodes to measure electrophysiological responses toward the stimuli. Event related potentials (ERPs) were analysed for P1, N1, P2, N2 and P3 components. Shape-label matches for self compared with stranger labels evoked a significant decrease in posterior P2 amplitudes (223ms) and a significantly greater amplitude of P300 (336ms) for self- relevant stimuli. We found a significantly stronger magnitude in P1 and posterior P2 effects for low-saliency stimuli (stranger) compared with high-saliency (self), and for self-relevance and positive emotion compared with high reward. We found a significant moderate negative relationship for anterior P2 amplitudes, and a significant moderate positive relationship for posterior P2 effects between self- and reward-prioritization effects. However no significant relationship was found between these and emotion- prioritization effects Thus, the time courses for self emerges slightly earlier than emotion and reward, but they share similarities in time courses in later processing, which indicates that the self is highly prioritized and plays a modulatory role between emotion- and reward-processing. Findings have implications in many areas including clinical research, for example refining successful treatment and diagnosis of disorders whereby individuals have reduced functioning of self and emotion- processing, such as depression and anxiety.

Source: Manual

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