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Changes in the sensitivity to appetitive and aversive arousal across adulthood


Keil, A; Freund, Alexandra M (2009). Changes in the sensitivity to appetitive and aversive arousal across adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 24(3):668-80.

Abstract

In 2 cross-sectional studies, the authors examined age-related differences in the evaluation of emotional stimuli in 2 community samples, with participants ranging in age from young to older adulthood (18-81 years old). Pictures of the International Affective Picture System were used in Study 1, and written verbs were used in Study 2. Participants rated these stimuli along the 2 major affective dimensions of hedonic valence and emotional arousal, thus yielding a 2-dimensional affective space for each participant. Young adults showed the expected pattern of 2 distinct clusters of stimuli in this space, representing increasing pleasantness (appetitive activation) and unpleasantness (aversive activation) with increasing emotional arousal. In contrast, for older adults, emotional valence and arousal ratings were linearly related: Low-arousing stimuli were rated as most pleasant, and high-arousing stimuli were rated as most unpleasant. When regressed on age, these changes revealed a gradual decrease of appetitive activation (i.e., the relationship between pleasure and arousal) across adulthood and a linear increase in aversive activation (i.e., the relationship between displeasure and arousal). These results extend previous work on emotional development, adding information as to the role of emotional intensity for affective experience in different age groups.

In 2 cross-sectional studies, the authors examined age-related differences in the evaluation of emotional stimuli in 2 community samples, with participants ranging in age from young to older adulthood (18-81 years old). Pictures of the International Affective Picture System were used in Study 1, and written verbs were used in Study 2. Participants rated these stimuli along the 2 major affective dimensions of hedonic valence and emotional arousal, thus yielding a 2-dimensional affective space for each participant. Young adults showed the expected pattern of 2 distinct clusters of stimuli in this space, representing increasing pleasantness (appetitive activation) and unpleasantness (aversive activation) with increasing emotional arousal. In contrast, for older adults, emotional valence and arousal ratings were linearly related: Low-arousing stimuli were rated as most pleasant, and high-arousing stimuli were rated as most unpleasant. When regressed on age, these changes revealed a gradual decrease of appetitive activation (i.e., the relationship between pleasure and arousal) across adulthood and a linear increase in aversive activation (i.e., the relationship between displeasure and arousal). These results extend previous work on emotional development, adding information as to the role of emotional intensity for affective experience in different age groups.

Citations

36 citations in Web of Science®
34 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:20 Jan 2010 13:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:38
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0882-7974
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016969
PubMed ID:19739923

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