The Effect of Stimulus Valence on Lexical Retrieval in Younger and Older Adults Purpose Although there is evidence that emotional valence of stimuli impacts lexical processes, there is limited work investigating its specific impact on lexical retrieval. The current study aimed to determine the degree to which emotional valence of pictured stimuli impacts naming latencies in healthy younger and older adults. ... Research Note
Research Note  |   July 12, 2017
The Effect of Stimulus Valence on Lexical Retrieval in Younger and Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Deena Schwen Blackett
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Stacy M. Harnish
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Jennifer P. Lundine
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Alexandra Zezinka
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Eric W. Healy
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Stacy Harnish: harnish.18@osu.edu
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Laura Murray
    Associate Editor: Laura Murray×
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Normal Language Processing / Language / Research Note
Research Note   |   July 12, 2017
The Effect of Stimulus Valence on Lexical Retrieval in Younger and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2017, Vol. 60, 2081-2089. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0268
History: Received June 24, 2016 , Revised November 11, 2016 , Accepted January 6, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2017, Vol. 60, 2081-2089. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0268
History: Received June 24, 2016; Revised November 11, 2016; Accepted January 6, 2017

Purpose Although there is evidence that emotional valence of stimuli impacts lexical processes, there is limited work investigating its specific impact on lexical retrieval. The current study aimed to determine the degree to which emotional valence of pictured stimuli impacts naming latencies in healthy younger and older adults.

Method Eighteen healthy younger adults and 18 healthy older adults named positive, negative, and neutral images, and reaction time was measured.

Results Reaction times for positive and negative images were significantly longer than reaction times for neutral images. Reaction times for positive and negative images were not significantly different. Whereas older adults demonstrated significantly longer naming latencies overall than younger adults, the discrepancy in latency with age was far greater when naming emotional pictures.

Conclusions Emotional arousal of pictures appears to impact naming latency in younger and older adults. We hypothesize that the increase in naming latency for emotional stimuli is the result of a necessary disengagement of attentional resources from the emotional images prior to completion of the naming task. We propose that this process may affect older adults disproportionately due to a decline in attentional resources as part of normal aging, combined with a greater attentional preference for emotional stimuli.

Acknowledgments
This work was submitted in partial fulfillment of degree requirements in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at The Ohio State University by the first author, under the direction of the second author. This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant NIH-R01-DC015521, awarded to Eric W. Healy. We would also like to acknowledge Dr. Paul De Boeck and Robert Nichols for their assistance in our statistical analysis, and Erin Rundio and Mallory Sharp for their assistance with data analysis.
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