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Effect of Sad and Suspenseful Mood Induction on Reaction Time
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by Rachel M. Ball, Erica S. Kargl, J. David Kimpel, and Shana L. Siewert - Wheaton College, Illinois
Categories: Cognitive | Sensation/Perception
This study investigated the effects of film-induced sad and suspenseful moods on reaction time. We assigned 51 college-age students (35 women and 16 men) to a neutral, sad, or suspense condition. The participants viewed films approximately 40 min long that contained a neutral baseline, an experimental segment, and a blank segment. We measured participants' reaction times to auditory cues throughout the entire film and assessed the effectiveness of the mood induction with an adjective checklist given after the films. Results showed that reaction times slowed significantly for both participants in the sad, p = 0.001, and suspense, p < 0.001, conditions when compared to the neutral condition. We concluded that the lengthening was due to emotionally induced distraction and anticipation, and was not the result of the specific emotion induced.