The 'Positive Effect' is present in older Chinese adults: evidence from an eye tracking study

Wang, J, He, L, Jia, L, Tian, J and Benson, Valerie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0351-4563 (2015) The 'Positive Effect' is present in older Chinese adults: evidence from an eye tracking study. PloS one .

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The 'Positive Effect' is defined as the phenomenon of preferential cognitive processing of positive affective information, and avoidance or dismissal of negative affective information in the social environment. The ‘Positive Effect’ is found for older people compared with younger people in western societies and is believed to reflect a preference for positive emotional regulation in older adults. It is not known whether such an effect is Universal, and in East Asian cultures, there is a highly controversial debate concerning this question. In the current experiment we explored whether Chinese older participants showed a 'Positive Effect' when they inspected picture pairs that were either a positive or a negative picture presented with a neutral picture, or a positive and negative picture paired together. The results indicated that both groups of participants showed an attentional bias to both pleasant (more processing of) and unpleasant pictures (initial orienting to) when these were paired with neutral pictures. When pleasant and unpleasant pictures were paired together both groups showed an initial orientation bias for the pleasant picture, but the older participants showed this bias for initial orienting and increased processing measures, providing evidence of a ‘Positive Effect’ in older Chinese adults.

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