Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Personality traits pertaining to positive emotion may be a key factor in deriving vitality from our lives. Positive affectivity refers to one's disposition to experience intense and frequent episodes of positive affect, while savoring capacity refer to one's ability to regulate positive affect. Both traits have been positively associated with happiness, self-esteem, prosocial behaviors, improved health outcomes, as well as attenuated depressive symptomatology and neuroticism. The late positive potential (LPP) is an electroencephalography (EEG) component that is theorized to index a visual cortical/amygdala pathway that is involved in evaluating the affective salience of stimuli. LPP is sensitive to the emotional content of stimuli, as well as how these stimuli are appraised. Research examining the neural time course of affective processing has long utilized the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). The Open Affective Standardized Image Set (OASIS) is an up-to-date and open access stimulus set that may improve upon some shortcomings of the IAPS. Thus, the present study evaluated the following hypotheses: a) enhanced LPP is evoked by positive and negative compared to neutral OASIS images, b) participants' LPP evoked by passively watching positive images will vary based on levels of positive affectivity and c) participants' LPP in response to increasing emotional intensity to positive images will vary based on levels of savoring capacity. As predicted, results showed enhanced LPP in response to positive and negative OASIS stimuli, indicating that the OASIS may be an advantageous replacement stimulus set for the IAPS in future psychophysiological research. However, in the present study, positive affectivity and savoring capacity did not moderate the relationship between passively viewing positive images/increasing emotional intensity in response to positive images and LPP activity. The present study brings much needed attention to positive emotion and its neurobiological correlates. This work is critical to developing neuroscience-informed clinical interventions for those with psychological and physiological disorders, as well as uncovering the biological implementations of well-being.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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