The Influence of Musically-Induced Emotion on Biases in Visual and Auditory Spatial Attention




Barrow, Jane Hesketh

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This dissertation investigated the influence that differing levels of musically-induced emotional valence might have on biases in visual and auditory spatial attention. At the core of this dissertation is the phenomenon of pseudoneglect - an asymmetry in visuospatial attention found in neurologically normal individuals when performing simple line bisections. The resulting bisections are reliably to the left of true center, presumably due to greater activation of areas in the right hemisphere of the brain associated with visuospatial attention. Auditory versions of the line bisection task have demonstrated a rightward asymmetry, presumably due to greater activation in the left hemisphere of the brain, though the distinction of whether spatial attention is supra-modal or modality specific is still being debated. Further, there are studies in the literature that suggest an emotional influence to spatial attention, while others suggest that there is no impact. The main two questions were whether differences in emotional valence can alter inherent asymmetries in visual and auditory spatial attention, and whether visual and auditory spatial attention are governed by differing areas of the brain as educed from demonstrable biases. The studies within this dissertation were designed to pit the opposing theories and findings against one another so that the outcome would support one viewpoint or the other, further fueling the academic debate.



Cognitive psychology, Auditory Spatial Attention, Musically-Induced Emotion, Pseudoneglect, Spatial Attention, Visuospatial Attention