Eye movements reveal a similar Positivity Effect in Chinese and UK older adults

Wang, Jingxin, Xie, Fang, He, Liyuan, Meadmore, Katie L., Paterson, Kevin B. and Benson, Valerie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0351-4563 (2020) Eye movements reveal a similar Positivity Effect in Chinese and UK older adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73 (11). pp. 1921-1929. ISSN 1747-0218

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021820935861


The “positivity effect” (PE) reflects an age-related increase in the preference for positive over negative information in attention and memory. The present experiment investigated whether Chinese and UK participants produce a similar PE. In one experiment we presented pleasant, unpleasant and neutral pictures simultaneously and participants decided which picture they liked or disliked on a third of trials respectively. We recorded participants’ eye movements during this task and compared time looking at, and memory for, pictures. The results suggest that older but not younger adults from both China and UK participant groups showed a preference to focus on and remember pleasant pictures, providing evidence of a PE in both cultures. Bayes Factor analysis supported these observations. These findings are consistent with the view that older people preferentially focus on positive emotional information, and that this effect is observed cross-culturally

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