emotional valence and effects of negation

What does it mean to understand that there is no cat in the backyard? Or that an individual is not home? Are negations (i.e. NO, NOT) processed consciously, unconsciously, or both? Will differences in emotional valence (positive or negative) have an impact on this? The purpose of this assignment is to explore the effects of negation, conscious vs unconscious processing, and emotional valence using a semantic priming experiment. You are required to complete a lab report which explores the above topics. The method and results section will be completed for you, and you are required to create an introduction, discussion, abstract and title page which relate back to these already completed sections.
This Assignment is a lab report of which you will write between 1500 and 2000 words of your own (Introduction and Discussion)
Due date: Sunday, 1st November
ü Title page [2% of marks]
ü Abstract (150 words) [3% of marks]
ü Introduction (approximately 750 – 1000 words) [40% of marks]
o General introductory paragraph on why negated word processing is interesting
o Introduction of semantic priming, semantic categorization and conscious versus unconscious processing.
o Introduction of the notion emotional valence
o Construct arguments about how negation might affect cognitive processing that lead to your hypotheses
o Hypotheses: Your introduction will conclude with at least three hypotheses.

The Method and Results are written for you and do not need to be edited. You will not receive any extra marks for adjusting the material in these sections. Include these sections in your report for clarity, but they will not be assessed. Bear in mind that these sections will show up as unoriginal via Turnitin, but this will not indicate any issue with plagiarism.

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ü Discussion (approximately 750 – 1000 words) [30% of marks]
o Your discussion will begin with a summary of the findings
o You will tie your findings back to the literature introduced in the introduction
o You may want to include new information that might account for unexpected findings (whether you do this will depend on whether the findings supported your hypotheses)
o You will discuss limitations of the study, implications of the study and future directions for research
ü References [10% of marks]
o Your Reference list will be in APA format and will include at least 2 journal articles, and 2 to 3 new references. Extra references can be journal articles or secondary sources such as textbooks or review articles. Further references can be used but may make the task of writing the report more difficult.
o Marks for referencing will be allocated on the basis of choice of appropriate references, appropriate in-text citations and appropriate APA formatting of both in-text and reference list citations. You will not gain extra marks for having a longer reference list.
ü Structure, presentation, writing style [15% of marks]
o This section includes the overall structure of your research report, such as writing style, logical structure of arguments and the integration between different elements of the report (Does the title match the content? Does the abstract summarise your story? Does the discussion tie up all the issues raised in the introduction? Does your report tell a coherent story?)
o WORD COUNT: You are expected to write between 1500 and 2000 words yourself in the combined introduction and discussion. This word count does not include the title page, references, abstract, method or results.


See next page for starter document.

Title Page
You need to create an APA-formatted Title Page. The title page will include a title for your research report, and should give the reader an idea of what you are presenting. It should include something on the things we manipulated (e.g., long vs short primes / emotional valence of stimuli, standard versus negated primes) and what sort of task we used (semantic categorisation task). You DO NOT require a Running Head.
You should also include your name and student ID on the title page, along with the due date of the assignment and the word count. There is no need to identify your tutor or to provide a cover sheet – during the submission process, you are attesting that the assignment is your own work, and note that we use plagiarism detection software to check that the sentences and paragraphs of the introduction and discussion are not copied from other sources including past assignments from this and similar units.

Your abstract will be a single paragraph of no more than 150 words in length and is not included in your word count. It should briefly describe the important characteristics of the sample, what task was performed, what we found, and what the implications might be. You do not need to include references in the abstract, nor do you include detailed statistics. You can often state the hypotheses as part of your findings to save words (e.g., “The hypothesis that negated primes would result in slower reaction times to congruent target words was supported in both priming conditions.” is an example of a sentence that combines hypotheses with data.). It is good to mention the type of task undertaken, the type of measures being used (e.g., reaction times, accuracy/errors, priming effects) and the experimental manipulations. If you mention specific hypotheses, make sure that you identify the correct measures – i.e., be clear whether your hypotheses relate to reaction times, errors or priming effects. It is good to provide a conclusion or “take-home message” at the end of your abstract.

Introduction (this title should be removed in your report)
The material included in the Introduction section is a guide for what you need to do in writing the introduction. You will replace this entire section with your own introduction.
The topic statements are designed to guide the content and themes that you should cover in each of the main paragraphs of your introduction. There are many different arguments that are possible within each section, and your choice of reading will guide the arguments that you decide to make.
Below each topic statement are the Assignment 2 references providing the key information for that topic. You will need to find extra references on emotional valence and individual differences, and while it is good to find journal articles, you can also use textbooks and review articles as secondary sources.
You need to build an argument for the idea that negated stimuli may be responded to more slowly and may be more difficult to process than standard stimuli, and that negation may not be processed unconsciously. Difficulties with negation may influence our behaviour in unexpected and ironic ways.
Relevant readings:
· Earp et al. (2013) (starter reference)
· The introduction and discussion of the Gawronski et al. (2008) paper

We use a conscious and unconscious priming in a semantic categorisation task using emotionally valenced word stimuli in both negated and standard form.
You will need to establish that priming is a method that is often used to study unconscious versus conscious processing. Semantic priming occurs when primes are meaningfully related to targets. Emotional valence of stimuli may be processed differently when stimuli are in conscious awareness versus being processed unconsciously. Emotional valence of stimuli may be an important factor in priming.

Relevant reading:
· You will need to find your own additional references here
· The general discussion of the White et al. (2018) paper

You will need to integrate findings from different studies to build arguments for your hypotheses.
This is the section of your report where you are free to follow whatever line of argument appeals to you and you will need to find up to three extra references to support your arguments. You may build arguments around social cognition and health promotion, around or “fake news” in the media, or you may opt to explore details of different priming methods (e.g., Wentura, 2000). You may need to consider different methods used in different studies. You could also refer to studies described in the text book, or find your own articles through the library.

Your introduction will conclude with three main hypotheses that relate to our experimental manipulations (conscious versus unconscious primes, standard versus negated primes, positive versus negative emotional valence). You will need to build arguments from the literature for the hypotheses you propose.
Some example hypotheses are:
· It was hypothesised, based on xxxxx, that reaction times would be faster/slower when target words were preceded by conscious compared with unconscious primes.
· It was hypothesised, based on yyyy, that reaction times would be faster/slower for target words when primes are negated/standard.
· It was hypothesised, based on zzzz, that error rates would be greater/less in conscious versus unconscious priming conditions for target words when primes are negated/standard.
· Based on zzzzz, it was also hypothesised that priming would be greatest for negative target words, and that “ironic” (reversed) priming would occur for negative words when negated negative primes were used.
Remember that the hypotheses come from the literature – that is, you are building an argument from the references you read, not from a random guess as to what will happen. The direction of your hypotheses should match the arguments you are building. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF THE DATA END UP NOT SUPPORTING YOUR HYPOTHESES. It is also possible to have two competing hypotheses in the same assignment (e.g., “According to Bloggs and Smith (2002), we would expect more priming for condition A, however according to Jones (2004) we would expect no priming for condition A but greater effects in condition B”). The data will then help distinguish which one is correct. You can then use our findings in your discussion to describe which theory or theories were supported and what our findings mean for these theories and for the direction of future research.
Data were analysed from 186 students from a medium sized university in Melbourne who participated in an experiment as part of their unit of study.
Word stimuli. There were twelve target words, half of which were positively valenced (e.g., loyal, peace) and half of which were negatively valenced (horrid, toxic). In addition to these target words, there were 12 prime words. Three of the prime words were of a positive valence (LOVE, LUCKY, HONEST) and three were negatively valenced (AFRAID, FILTH, ASHAMED). The remaining six primes were the same as the aforementioned primes, but also contained the word ‘NOT’ before the prime, representing negated versions of the above primes. Each target word (in lower case) was preceded by a prime from each of the four prime categories (positive, negative, negated positive and negated negative; presented in upper-case) twice, thus the experiment contained 96 trials. The twelve combinations of prime-target pairings are presented in Table 1.
The experimental design involved three conditions (conscious versus unconscious primes; positive versus negative emotional valence of targets; standard versus negated primes). The conscious versus unconscious prime condition was a between-subjects condition. In the conscious prime condition, participants were presented with prime words for 204 ms: long enough for the primes to be visible for participants. The unconscious priming condition involved short primes that were only presented for 34 ms, which is below the threshold for conscious awareness of the prime word. The remaining independent variables were within-subject conditions which included the emotional valence of both the target word, and the prime (either positive or negative), and whether or not the prime was in a standard form (e.g. LOVE) or presented alongside a negation (e.g. NOT LOVE).
Table 1
Twelve Prime-Target combinations used in the experiment

Standard Prime
Negated Prime

LOVE – loyal

FILTH – loyal

NOT LOVE – loyal

NOT FILTH – loyal

LOVE – horrid

FILTH – horrid

NOT LOVE – horrid

NOT FILTH – horrid

Dependent variables were reaction times (RTs), accuracy scores (% correct), and priming effects. Reaction times were measured in ms from beginning of the target word until the participant responded. Only RTs of 200 ms to 1500 ms for correct classifications of target words were included for analysis. Priming effects for standard prime-target word pairs were obtained by comparing standard congruent pairs (i.e. negative prime – negative target, or positive prime – positive target) with incongruent standard paired (i.e. negative prime – positive target, or positive prime – negative target). Other comparisons were also observed in regards to priming, such as comparing the effects negated primes with standard primes, and comparing negated primes between valence (such as comparing reaction times between positive negated and negative negated primes).
Participants reached the experiment via a link on the Learning Management System. Participants were informed about the sequence of events in the task, and asked to respond as quickly and as accurately as possible. Each participant completed 16 practice trials followed by 96 experimental trials. The experiment required the participants to classify words presented on the screen as of negative or positive emotional valence.
Approximately half of the participants (N= 100) were presented with the prime stimulus for 34 ms (short prime condition), while the remaining participants (N= 86) were presented the prime stimulus for 204 ms (long prime condition) and all participants performed the sequence of trials in a random order. Feedback was provided on all trials.
In terms of the stimulus presentation, the main stimuli always appeared in the centre of the screen. The timing was as follows: (a) a forward mask (#########) appeared for 500 ms along with prompts for the response options (A=Positive, B=Negative); (b) the prime was then presented for 34 (short) or 204 (long) ms; (c) the target word was presented; and (d) the target remained on the screen until the participant responded. Participants had up to three seconds to respond before the experiment continued to the next trial. Participants were given feedback as to whether their response was correct (green Y) or incorrect (red X) after each trial.
Data were screened for response times that were less than 200 ms or greater than 1500 ms and for incomplete data sets as well as outliers. The final data set contained data from 186 participants, with 86 participants in the conscious (long prime) condition and 100 in the unconscious (short prime) condition. Reaction times and accuracy percentages were calculated for each of the prime-target word pairs. Priming effects were then calculated from reaction times by subtracting the reaction times for congruent prime-target word pairs (e.g. TOXICvenomous) from reaction times for their incongruent (e.g. LOVEhorrid) counterparts, such that positive priming effects indicated congruent priming. For negated prime words, negated negative primes (e.g. NOT FILTH) were considered to be congruent primes for positive words (loyal), and negated positive primes (e.g. NOT LOVE) were considered to be congruent primes for negative words (horrid).
Accuracy data
To confirm that participants were successfully completing the semantic categorisation task across all conditions, the percentages of correct responses were collated, and are presented in Table 2.
As can be seen in Table 2, the accuracy data in all conditions appears to be relatively high (>90%), suggesting participants completed the task as instructed. There also appears to be little difference in accuracy across conditions. In the absence of any observed differences, no further statistical analyses were undertaken on the accuracy data.
Table 2.
Accuracy Data For Each Of The Prime-Target Word Combinations

(long primes)

(short primes)
Negative Target


Negative Target

Prime types































*Note that Negated Negative (NOT FILTH) is considered to be Positive in valence
** Note that Negated Positive (NOT LOVE) is considered to be Negative in valence

Reaction Time Data/Priming Effects
Mean reaction times (RTs) and associated standard errors across all experimental conditions are presented in Table 3.
Table 3.
Reaction Time Data For Each Of The Prime-Target Word Combinations

(long primes)

(short primes)
Negative Target

Positive Target

Negative Target

Positive target
Prime types





























*Note that Negated Negative (NOT FILTH) is considered to be Positive in valence
** Note that Negated Positive (NOT LOVE) is considered to be Negative in valence

As can be seen from Table 3, reaction times in the unconscious priming condition were faster (M=634.36, SEM=10.61) than those in the conscious priming condition (M=910.02, SEM=12.03). This difference was statistically significant, t(184)=17.25, p<0.0001. However there did not seem to be any clear differences between reaction times for standard versus negated primes in either the conscious (Mdiff=4.01, SEM=3.52) or the unconscious condition (Mdiff=-2.24, SE=3.17), and this conclusion was supported statistically by two paired t-tests, t(343)=1.15, p>.05 and t(399)=0.71, p>.05, for the conscious and unconscious conditions respectively.
There were some clear differences in reaction times for target words preceded by different types of primes. These priming effects were explored further in Figures 1 and 2 for conscious (long duration primes) and unconscious (short duration primes) priming conditions respectively.

Note: Error bars: +/- 1 SE

Figure 1. Priming effects for the conscious priming condition.

As can be seen in Figure 1 for the conscious priming condition, there appeared to be congruent priming effects for standard primes for both positive and negative target words, but congruent priming effects were only evident for positive target words in the negated prime condition.

Note: Error bars: +/- 1 SE

Figure 2. Priming effects for the unconscious prime condition.

As can be seen in Figure 2 for the unconscious priming condition, while there appeared to be congruent priming effects for standard primes for both negative and positive target words, there was no priming effect for positive target words in the negated priming condition. There was evidence of reversed (incongruent) priming for negated primes with negative target words. That is, it appears that for negative target words in the negated condition, incongruent prime-target word pairs (NOT FILTH -> horrid) were responded to faster than congruent pairs (NOT LOVE -> horrid), suggesting that negation was not processed for these words.
Comparing the priming effects in Figures 1 and 2, it seems that priming effects in the conscious condition are larger than in the unconscious condition, and that priming effects in the standard condition were greater than in the negated condition, however there was less evidence of differences between priming effects for negatively-valenced target words compared with positively-valenced target words. To test whether these observed differences between the priming effects for different conditions were statistically significant, a 3-way (unconscious/conscious prime condition) x (standard/negated prime type) x 2 (positive/negative valence) ANOVA was conducted. There was a significant main effect of prime condition, F(1,184)=6.45, p<0.01, confirming that priming effects in the conscious condition were significantly different from those in the unconscious condition. There was a significant main effect of prime type, F(1,184)=17.56, p<.001, confirming that priming effects for standard priming were greater than those for negated priming. There was no main effect of emotional valence of the target words, and no interaction effects.

After you receive the results section, you will need to replace this section with your own discussion that provides:
· a summary of findings
· how the findings are relevant to the literature discussed in the introduction
· any limitations of the research
· the implications of the findings and potential future research
· a concluding paragraph

Your discussion should begin with a summary of the findings in terms of your hypotheses, including any further aspects of the data you might want to discuss. This summary of findings discusses trends and significant results, but does not include actual data or statistics. You will then discuss the relevance of the findings back to the literature that you reviewed in your introduction. You may want to introduce some extra ideas into the discussion (for example from Readings 3: White et al., (2018) or from Reading 4: Wentura, (2000)) to explain unexpected findings in terms of your hypotheses.
In discussing limitations of the research, you need to identify how methodological problems or conceptual problems with negation and emotional valence might have interfered with our ability to find the types of relationships we were looking for. Implications and Future research should identify how the findings of the research might be used and whould target the issues that still have not been resolved, or ways to progress in understanding the topic of interest. Finally, you should have a concluding paragraph identifying the key finding(s).

You will need to add your own references to the reference list. You WILL NOT BE PENALISED for not including the DOI for each reference. You should find at least 2 – 3 extra references and these can be journal articles, or secondary sources. You will not gain extra marks for reading lots of extra references beyond three and you can write a solid report without finding extra references at all. You are expected to read Earp et al., 2013 in full, and to focus on the Abstracts and General Discussions of the other listed readings. You do not have to include all of these references in your reference list if you choose not to cite them.

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