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      Arousal, valence, and the uncanny valley: psychophysiological and self-report findings

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          Abstract

          The main prediction of the Uncanny Valley Hypothesis ( UVH) is that observation of humanlike characters that are difficult to distinguish from the human counterpart will evoke a state of negative affect. Well-established electrophysiological [ late positive potential ( LPP) and facial electromyography (EMG)] and self-report [ Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM)] indices of valence and arousal, i.e., the primary orthogonal dimensions of affective experience, were used to test this prediction by examining affective experience in response to categorically ambiguous compared with unambiguous avatar and human faces ( N = 30). LPP and EMG provided direct psychophysiological indices of affective state during passive observation and the SAM provided self-reported indices of affective state during explicit cognitive evaluation of static facial stimuli. The faces were drawn from well-controlled morph continua representing the UVH’ dimension of human likeness ( DHL). The results provide no support for the notion that category ambiguity along the DHL is specifically associated with enhanced experience of negative affect. On the contrary, the LPP and SAM-based measures of arousal and valence indicated a general increase in negative affective state (i.e., enhanced arousal and negative valence) with greater morph distance from the human end of the DHL. A second sample ( N = 30) produced the same finding, using an ad hoc self-rating scale of feelings of familiarity, i.e., an oft-used measure of affective experience along the UVH’ familiarity dimension. In conclusion, this multi-method approach using well-validated psychophysiological and self-rating indices of arousal and valence rejects – for passive observation and for explicit affective evaluation of static faces – the main prediction of the UVH.

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          Measuring emotion: the Self-Assessment Manikin and the Semantic Differential.

          The Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) is a non-verbal pictorial assessment technique that directly measures the pleasure, arousal, and dominance associated with a person's affective reaction to a wide variety of stimuli. In this experiment, we compare reports of affective experience obtained using SAM, which requires only three simple judgments, to the Semantic Differential scale devised by Mehrabian and Russell (An approach to environmental psychology, 1974) which requires 18 different ratings. Subjective reports were measured to a series of pictures that varied in both affective valence and intensity. Correlations across the two rating methods were high both for reports of experienced pleasure and felt arousal. Differences obtained in the dominance dimension of the two instruments suggest that SAM may better track the personal response to an affective stimulus. SAM is an inexpensive, easy method for quickly assessing reports of affective response in many contexts.
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            The brain basis of emotion: a meta-analytic review.

            Researchers have wondered how the brain creates emotions since the early days of psychological science. With a surge of studies in affective neuroscience in recent decades, scientists are poised to answer this question. In this target article, we present a meta-analytic summary of the neuroimaging literature on human emotion. We compare the locationist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions) with the psychological constructionist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to those categories) to better understand the brain basis of emotion. We review both locationist and psychological constructionist hypotheses of brain-emotion correspondence and report meta-analytic findings bearing on these hypotheses. Overall, we found little evidence that discrete emotion categories can be consistently and specifically localized to distinct brain regions. Instead, we found evidence that is consistent with a psychological constructionist approach to the mind: A set of interacting brain regions commonly involved in basic psychological operations of both an emotional and non-emotional nature are active during emotion experience and perception across a range of discrete emotion categories.
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              A classification of hand preference by association analysis.

               M Annett (1970)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-1078
                15 July 2015
                2015
                : 6
                Affiliations
                1Department of Neuropsychology, University of Zurich Zurich, Switzerland
                2Department of Psychology, Nungin University Seoul, South Korea
                3Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva Geneva, Switzerland
                4Department of Psychology, University of Wurzburg Wurzburg, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Eddy J. Davelaar, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

                Reviewed by: Francesca M. M. Citron, Lancaster University, UK; Christian Becker-Asano, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany

                *Correspondence: Marcus Cheetham, Department of Neuropsychology, University of Zurich, Binzmühlestrasse 14/Box 25, CH-8050 Zürich, Switzerland, m.cheetham@ 123456psychologie.uzh.ch

                These authors share first authorship.

                This article was submitted to Cognitive Science, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Article
                10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00981
                4502535
                Copyright © 2015 Cheetham, Wu, Pauli and Jancke.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 133, Pages: 15, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: European Union FET Integrated Project PRESENCCIA
                Award ID: 27731
                Funded by: German Research Foundation
                Award ID: GRK 1253/1
                Award ID: FOR 605-PA 566/9-1
                Award ID: SFB-TRR 58 project B01
                Categories
                Psychology
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

                lpp, arousal, uncanny valley hypothesis, familiarity, emg, eeg, valence

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