Edorium Journal of

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Original Article
 
Attention allocation to attachment-related and general emotional words: An event-related brain potential investigation of the effects of attachment-style and relationship status
Laura M. Lathrop1, Isabel A. Davis2, Michael A. Kisley3
1MA student, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
2MA graduate, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
3Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Article ID: 100004P13LL2015
doi:10.5348/P13-2015-4-OA-4

Address correspondence to:
Dr. Michael A. Kisley
Department of Psychology, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs CO 80918
USA
Phone: 719-255-4177
Fax: 719-255-4166

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How to cite this article
Lathrop LM, Davis IA, Kisley MA. Attention allocation to attachment-related and general emotional words: An event-related brain potential investigation of the effects of attachment-style and relationship status. Edorium J Psychol 2015;1:22–32.


Abstract
Aims: Adult attachment style influences attention towards emotional information. The goal of this study was to evaluate the allocation of attention in the context of attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, and relationship status, using the late positive potential (LPP) component of event related potentials to track attention towards words isolated by emotional valence (positive and negative) and word type (general and attachment-related).
Methods: Thirty-three participants (M = 21.24 years; SD = 3.51) categorized emotional words while their electrophysiological responses were recorded, tracking attention with the LPP component. Behavioral, subjective, and electrophysiological measures were analyzed separately. Standardized multiple regression and hierarchical multiple regression were performed to evaluate relationships between variables.
Results: Adult attachment style and relationship status combined to predicted attention allocation (LPP amplitude) to attachment-related words (ΔR2 = 0.28, ΔF(2, 26) = 2.71, p = 0.008) but not to general emotional words (ΔR2 = 0.04, ΔF(2, 26) = 0.57, p > 0.05). The interaction between attachment anxiety and relationship status was a statistically significant predictor of attention allocation to attachment-related words (β = 0.60, p = 0.003), whereas the interaction including attachment avoidance was not (β = 0.10, p > 0.05). Specifically, as attachment anxiety increased, individuals in a relationship allocated more attentional resources to the negative attachment-related words, while individuals who were not in a relationship demonstrated heightened attention to the positive attachment-related words.
Conclusion: Relationship status (single or partnered) influences the amount of attention directed towards positive and negative attachment-related words for individuals higher in attachment anxiety.

Keywords: Attachment style, Attention, Event-related potential, Relationship status


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Author Contributions:
Laura M. Lathrop – Substantial contributions to conception and design, Acquisition of data, Analysis and interpretation of data, Drafting the article, Revising it critically for important intellectual content, Final approval of the version to be published
Isabel A. Davis – Substantial contributions to analysis and interpretation of data, Acquisition of data, Drafting the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Michael A. Kisley – Substantial contributions to conception and design, Analysis and interpretation of data, Drafting the article, Revising it critically for important intellectual content, Final approval of the version to be published
Guarantor of submission
The corresponding author is the guarantor of submission.
Source of support
None
Conflict of interest
Authors declare no conflict of interest.
Copyright
© 2015 Laura M. Lathrop et al. This article is distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original author(s) and original publisher are properly credited. Please see the copyright policy on the journal website for more information.



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