Breast cancer survivor testimonies: Effects of narrative and emotional valence on affect and cognition
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This study examined the impact of narrative and emotion on processing of African American breast cancer survivor messages. We employed a two (narrative: present/absent) × three (emotional valence: pleasant/unpleasant/mixed) × four (message repetition) within-subjects experimental design. Findings indicated narrative messages with both pleasant and unpleasant emotional content (mixed) showed the greatest attention (heart rate deceleration) and negative emotional response (corrugator supercillii) while unpleasant narratives showed the least. Surprisingly, non-narrative messages showed the opposite pattern of results, where unpleasant messages showed the greatest attention and emotional response while non-narrative messages with mixed emotional content showed the least. These data initially point to the conclusion that attention for narrative material depends on the valence of emotion expressed in the message, which has both theoretical and practical implications.
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