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Do you remember your sad face? The roles of negative cognitive style and sad mood

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We studied the effects of negative cognitive style, sad mood, and facial affect on the self-face advantage in a sample of 66 healthy individuals (mean age 26.5 years, range 19–47 years). The sample was subdivided into four groups according to inferential style and responsivity to sad mood induction. Following a sad mood induction, we examined the effect on working memory of an incidental association between facial affect, facial identity, and head-pose orientation. Overall, head-pose recognition was more accurate for the self-face than for nonself face (self-face advantage, SFA). However, participants high in negative cognitive style who experienced higher levels of sadness displayed a stronger SFA for sad expressions than happy expressions. The remaining participants displayed an opposite bias (a stronger SFA for happy expressions than sad expressions), or no bias. These findings highlight the importance of trait-vulnerability status in the working memory biases related to emotional facial expressions.
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Keywords: Cognitive bias; Emotion; Negative cognitive style; Sad mood induction; Self-face advantage; Working memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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