Side Effects of Being Blue: Influence of Sad Mood on Visual Statistical Learning

Julie Bertels, Catherine Demoulin, Ana Franco, Arnaud Destrebecqz, Wael El-Deredy
2013 PLoS ONE  
It is well established that mood influences many cognitive processes, such as learning and executive functions. Although statistical learning is assumed to be part of our daily life, as mood does, the influence of mood on statistical learning has never been investigated before. In the present study, a sad vs. neutral mood was induced to the participants through the listening of stories while they were exposed to a stream of visual shapes made up of the repeated presentation of four triplets,
more » ... ely sequences of three shapes presented in a fixed order. Given that the inter-stimulus interval was held constant within and between triplets, the only cues available for triplet segmentation were the transitional probabilities between shapes. Direct and indirect measures of learning taken either immediately or 20 minutes after the exposure/mood induction phase revealed that participants learned the statistical regularities between shapes. Interestingly, although participants from the sad and neutral groups performed similarly in these tasks, subjective measures (confidence judgments taken after each trial) revealed that participants who experienced the sad mood induction showed increased conscious access to their statistical knowledge. These effects were not modulated by the time delay between the exposure/mood induction and the test phases. These results are discussed within the scope of the robustness principle and the influence of negative affects on processing style.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059832 pmid:23555797 pmcid:PMC3608531 fatcat:4ivnzh4wlncwtfnhllhny46kyi