Journal Article Negative emotion evoked by viewing snakes has a motivating effect on cognitive processing in human children with or without intellectual disability

Masataka, Nobuo

7 ( 6 ) 2017-06 , John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Background: It is well known that prioritization of the processing of threatening stimuli generally induces deleterious effects on task performance. However, a study recently reported that emotion (possibly fear) evoked by viewing images of snakes exerts a facilitating effect upon making judgments of the images' color in neurotypical adults and schoolchildren. Here, the author has attempted to confirm the relevance of this notion in children with and without intellectual disability. Methods: The author here compared the reaction time required to name the colors of snake and flower images between children with Down syndrome (DS) and mental age matched, typically-developing (TD) children. Results: Snake images were responded to faster than flower images in both the groups, while the children with DS tended to respond more slowly overall. Conclusions: As in TD children, negative emotion can have a motivating effect on cognitive processing in children with DS. Some implications of the findings are pointed out with respect to the lower-level task persistence as a characteristic motivational orientation in children with DS.

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