You are on page 1of 12

This article was downloaded by: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile]

On: 1 October 2010

Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 906707153]
Publisher Psychology Press
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-
41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Cognition & Emotion

Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:

Sensorimotor fluency influences affect: Evidence from electromyography

Peter R. Cannonab; Amy E. Hayesc; Steven P. Tipperc
Bangor University, Bangor b University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK c Bangor University, Bangor, UK

First published on: 12 June 2009

To cite this Article Cannon, Peter R. , Hayes, Amy E. and Tipper, Steven P.(2010) 'Sensorimotor fluency influences affect:
Evidence from electromyography', Cognition & Emotion, 24: 4, 681 — 691, First published on: 12 June 2009 (iFirst)
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/02699930902927698


Full terms and conditions of use:

This article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or
systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply or
distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.

The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents
will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug doses
should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,
actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly
or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
2010, 24 (4), 681691


Sensorimotor fluency influences affect:

Evidence from electromyography

Peter R. Cannon
Bangor University, Bangor, and University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

Amy E. Hayes and Steven P. Tipper

Bangor University, Bangor, UK

Fluency of visual processing induces affective responses, with easier-to-process stimuli being
preferred (Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001). The present study extends this research to the motor
domain by investigating the effect of sensorimotor fluency on affective reactions to objects in a
categorisation task. In fluent stimulusresponse (sr) trials, grasp-compatible objects were presented
on the same side of the screen as the response hand; in non-fluent trials, grasp incompatible objects
were presented on the opposite side of the screen to the response hand. Affective responses were
measured implicitly using face muscle activity (electromyography). As predicted, participants
exhibited greater cheek muscle activity (associated with smiling) in trials with sr compatible
responses compared with incompatible responses. These findings support hedonic models of fluency
in which fluent processing elicits direct emotional experience, and suggest that models of hedonic
fluency should take into account the integration of the motor system in visual processing.

Keywords: Emotion; Action; Electromyography; EMG; Stimulusresponse compatibility.

Within psychology there has been a history of targets. One explanation for this effect is based
investigating the relationship between perceptual on fluency of perceptual processing: repeated
processing and the emotional evaluation of exposures facilitate stimulus processing, and this
objects. For example, in the mere exposure effect increased perceptual fluency results in a more
(Zajonc, 1968), increased frequency of exposure to positive affective rating of the target (Bornstein &
objects produces more positive evaluations of D’Agostino, 1994). That is, it has been proposed

Correspondence should be addressed to: Peter Cannon, School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA,
UK. E-mail:
This research was supported by Economic and Social Research Council grant RES-000-23-0429 awarded to SPT and AEH.
This study was designed and data were collected at Bangor University. The manuscript was written at Bangor University and
the Universtiy of Plymouth. Peter Cannon is now at the University of Cambridge.
We thank Mike Tucker, Piotr Winkielman, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on this manuscript.

# 2009 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business 681 DOI:10.1080/02699930902927698

that our emotion systems are sensitive to the the stimulus and the required response that leads
dynamics of cognitive processes, and that factors to the stimulusresponse (sr) conflict, with faster
that result in faster and more efficient processing reaction times and more accurate responses when
will increase positive affective responses. Support- the grasp-compatible features of the stimulus
ing this theory, other manipulations that facilitate match the required response (e.g., Symes, Ellis,
object perception besides prior exposure have been & Tucker, 2005). For example, Tucker and Ellis
shown to influence affective responses. For ex- (1998) demonstrated that when judging whether a
ample, subliminal priming, high figureground range of graspable objects (e.g., a frying pan) were
contrast, and longer viewing time have all been inverted or not, responses were faster and more
demonstrated to increase positive affective ratings accurate if the handles of the pans were oriented
(Reber, Winkielman, & Schwarz, 1998). toward the response hand. As with the Simon
Research investigating the relationship be- effect, the grasp affordances appear to be auto-
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

tween processing fluency and affect has primarily matically computed, in the sense that they are not
focused on the fluency of perceptual processes. relevant to the participant’s main task goals.
However, the visual system is highly integrated These sr compatibility procedures were com-
with other neural systems, including the motor bined in the present study so that participants
system. Evidence for the integration between responded to objects under two different condi-
vision and action has been demonstrated in tions. The first was the sr compatible response
studies of patient behaviour (e.g., Goodale, condition in which the stimulus object was
Milner, Jakobson, & Carey, 1991; Humphreys, presented on the same side of the screen as the
Riddoch, Forti, & Ackroyd, 2004); additional response key and the object’s handle was oriented
evidence is provided by experiments that manip- towards the response hand. The second condition
ulate task-irrelevant features of stimuli, such as was the sr incompatible response condition, in
the Simon effect (Simon & Small, 1969), or object which the stimulus object was presented on the
affordances (Tucker & Ellis, 1998). Owing to opposite side of the screen to the response key and
the reciprocal relationship between vision and the object’s handle was oriented away from the
action, it is logical to assume that the fluency of response hand. As with previous Simon effect and
perceptual processing can be more broadly con- object affordance experiments, the sr compatible
strued as the fluency of the sensorimotor system. condition was predicted to facilitate responses
If this is true, then varying sensorimotor fluency compared to the sr incompatible condition,
by manipulating the ease of response toward resulting in faster and more accurate responses.
objects should also influence affective responses Participants’ affective responses were measured
to these same objects. using two techniques: an explicit measure and an
In the Simon effect, responses to stimuli implicit measure. Explicit affective ratings were
are faster and more accurate if the stimulus and only collected in the final block of trials at the end
required response are spatially compatible of the experiment using a liking scale (see Bayliss,
and slower and less accurate when the stimulus Paul, Cannon, & Tipper, 2006, for a similar
and response are spatially incompatible (Hommel, procedure). Affective responses were measured
1995; Simon & Small, 1969). This is the case implicitly by recording facial muscle activity using
even when the spatial location of the stimulus is electromyography (EMG) during the speeded
irrelevant to task demands. For example, when response task. This technique measures the elec-
reporting the colour of a stimulus with left and trical activity relating to muscle tension and can be
right key presses, responses are faster when used to assess the expressions of emotion, with
responding with the right hand if the stimulus is higher electrical activity being related to greater
presented on the right side (near the responding muscle activity. As with previous electromyo-
hand). In the object affordance effect it is the graphic investigations of fluency, the activity of
conflict between the grasp-compatible features of the zygomaticus major cheek muscle, associated

682 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4)


with positive emotions (smiling), and the corru- METHOD

gator supercilii brow muscle, associated with
negative emotions (frowning), was recorded.
It was predicted that sensorimotor fluency Twenty-four female undergraduate students from
would result in a similar pattern of muscle Bangor University volunteered to take part in the
activity to studies that investigated fast effortless experiment and received course credit for their
perceptual processing (Harmon-Jones & Allen, participation. All participants gave informed con-
2001; Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001; Winkielman, sent and were debriefed in full at the end of the
Halberstadt, Fazendeiro, & Catty, 2006). These experiment.
authors found that perceptual fluency influenced
zygomaticus muscle activity but did not influence Stimuli
corrugator muscle activity. They interpreted this
Stimuli were presented on a 19?? Iiyama Vision-
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

result as supporting the common view that master CRT viewed at approximately 50 cm. The
positive and negative affect are subserved by stimulus set consisted of images of 28 household
separable systems, and, moreover, as indicating objects, 14 associated with the kitchen and 14
that perceptual fluency selectively acts on the associated with the garage. Each original photo-
positive affect system. In contrast, Topolinski, graph was converted into a black and white image,
Likowski, Weyers, and Strack (2009) found and then selectively re-coloured using the colour
effects in both zygomaticus and corrugator balance tool in Adobe Photoshop to create four
muscles in more complex tasks examining se- different coloured variants (blue, green, red, and
mantic associations between word triads. It was yellow); these photographs were then horizontally
assumed that the sensorimotor processes in the mirrored to create eight different exemplars of
present task were more similar to the simple each object. Each participant responded to a left-
perceptual tasks of Winkielman and Cacioppo handed and right-handed version of each object,
(2001). If this proved to be true, then sr one version was always sr compatible, and a
compatibility would selectively increase zygoma- different coloured version was always sr incom-
ticus activity in the absence of an effect for patible. This resulted in 56 objects in each block.
corrugator activity. The colourcompatibility pairing for each object
This is the first study to test whether remained consistent throughout all five blocks for
sensorimotor fluency evokes positive affect mea- each participant, although the colourcompatibility
sured implicitly using EMG. Importantly, muscle pairings were randomised between participants.
activity was recorded in the earlier blocks of the For example, a single participant would encounter
experiment before the explicit liking rating task the same 56 objects in all 5 blocks of the
was introduced. In this way, any EMG effects experiment. If they responded to a blue sr
associated with sensorimotor fluency reflected compatible coffee mug and a red incompatible
affective reactions actually experienced during coffee mug in the first block, then the sr
the execution of the responses. This avoided compatible coffee mug would always be blue in
the remaining four blocks and the sr incompa-
the alternative possibility that arises when sub-
tible coffee mug would always be red.
jects give explicit liking ratings to the stimuli,
namely that EMG effects might be a conse-
quence of making the explicit affective judge- Design
ment, which could produce an apparent effect of The sr compatibility (and resulting sensorimotor
fluency simply owing to task demands rather fluency) of the response was determined by both
than to any experienced affective responses to the orientation and location of the target stimulus.
fluency. In the sr compatible conditions, objects were

COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4) 683


presented on the same side of the screen as the and were not aware that facial muscle activity was
response hand and the object’s handle was grasp being recorded.
compatible, and in the sr incompatible condition Within the first four blocks the procedure was
the object was presented on the opposite side of as follows. Participants initiated trials by pressing
the screen to the response hand and the object’s the spacebar. Following a 250 ms blank screen, a
handle was oriented away from the response fixation cross was displayed in the centre of the
hand. The present study did not attempt to cross screen for 1500 ms; an image of a kitchen or garage
the Simon and object affordance effects, and object then appeared to the right or left of the
always used these conditions combined (i.e., both fixation cross for 300 ms followed by a blank screen
compatible or both incompatible). Key mappings for 1700 ms. The categorisation response could be
were counterbalanced across participants. made within the 2000 ms following stimulus onset
There were 56 trials in each block, which and immediately after the end of the blank screen
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

consisted of 28 repeats of the 2 sr conditions, for feedback regarding the accuracy of the response was
a total of 280 trials over 5 blocks. Blocks were provided by one of two audible tones that signified
deliberately short to ensure that participants did correct or incorrect responses. To end the trial, a
not become bored during the experiment as this blank screen was displayed for 250 ms followed by
would result in yawning and inattention. the message ‘‘relax’’ that was displayed for 2000 ms.
This procedure is displayed in Figure 1, left panel.
The procedure for block 5 was identical to that
of the first four blocks until the accuracy feedback
After giving informed consent, the participant was was given. Following the blank screen after
fitted with the EMG electrodes, as described accuracy feedback, the trial stimulus was redis-
below. A cover story of ‘‘recording brain activity’’ played but with a liking scale in the centre of the
was implemented to prevent participants from screen (see Figure 1 right panel). The participant
realising that their facial muscle activity was being was asked for a rating from 1 to 9 of ‘‘How much
recorded. Participants were debriefed at the end did you like that object?’’ with 9 at the top of the
of the experiment including the nature of the scale and the label ‘‘Like very much’’ and 1 at the
electrodes, and these were demonstrated so that bottom of the scale and the label ‘‘Don’t like at
participants could see their facial muscle activity on all’’. This value was reported verbally and entered
screen. This also gave the experimenter an oppor- by an experimenter blind to the condition on a
tunity to assess whether the EMG apparatus separate keyboard.
was measuring muscle activity correctly. No parti-
cipants guessed the purpose of the electrodes or
EMG recording
the nature of the experimental hypothesis.
In blocks 14 participants were asked to Facial muscle activity was recorded from the zygo-
categorise with left and right key presses pictures maticus major (cheek) and corrugator supercilii
of everyday objects as either belonging in the (brow) muscles using pairs of silver/silver chloride
garage or belonging in the kitchen. Participants electrodes on the left side of the face. Electrode sites
were instructed to respond as quickly and as were cleaned with alcohol swabs and prepared
accurately as possible. In block 5 there was an by rubbing electrode gel into the contact site
additional task; this was to rate how much they (Fridlund & Cacioppo, 1986). After the electrodes
liked the object that they had just categorised. The were attached, the participant had their visual
key feature of this design is that participants were acuity and colour vision tested and completed the
not aware that they would be asked to rate the Autism-Quotient questionnaire (Baron-Cohen,
objects while responding in the first four blocks Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, & Clubley, 2001)1

The AQ data was not used in the current study, but was collected for participant selection in other studies.

684 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4)

Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

Blocks 1-4 Block 5: Liking Scale

EMG recording How much did you like that object?
like very much
untimed 1500 ms 300 ms 1700 ms 250 ms 2000 ms 9
“Press 7
spacebar -
+ + feedback tone “relax” 6
begin trial” 5
K G 2000 ms -


Categorization response -
Kitchen/Garage 1
don't like at all

Figure 1. Left: a compatible response to a garage item taken from blocks 14. Facial EMG activity was recorded for 2500 ms starting from 500 ms prior to stimulus onset. Right: the liking
scale presented after each response in block 5.

while the experimenter waited for the muscle responses, F(1, 23)4.88, p.04. Response
activity to settle to baseline level (this took speed reduced across blocks, F(4, 92)30.67,
approximately 10 minutes). pB.001, independent of the Compatibility factor
Electromyographic activity was recorded using (p.24). Also as predicted, categorisation errors
a BIOPAC MP100 system with two EMG100C were less for Compatible (M3.1%, SD3.6)
electromyographic amplifiers at a sampling fre- than Incompatible (M4.9%, SD6.4) response
quency of 2 KHz. Raw EMG data were filtered trials, F(1, 23)4.80, p.04. As with the
online with a high pass filter at 10 Hz, a low pass response speed data, performance improved across
filter at 500 Hz, a notch filter at 50 Hz, and were blocks, F(4, 92)2.85, p.03, and matching the
amplified by 5000. These data were then RT data there was no interaction of Block by
integrated, rectified, and recorded onto the hard Compatibility (p.46).
disk for offline analysis. These recorded data were
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

standardised across participants and muscle sites Electromyographic results

to allow meaningful comparisons to be made (this
Two separate types of analysis were performed on
process is similar to that reported by Winkielman
the muscle activity data for blocks 1 to 4. In the
& Cacioppo, 2001). Change scores were calcu-
stimulus-locked analysis, muscle data represent
lated using the final 500 ms of the fixation screen
participants’ facial response relative in time to the
as a baseline, which was averaged and subtracted
onset of the stimulus object. In the response-
from the trial data at 50 ms averaged intervals.
locked analysis, muscle data represent participants’
facial response relative to the categorisation
Data screening procedures response on each trial, with 0 ms corresponding
Trials were excluded from further analysis if they with the categorisation response. These data are
were the first trial in a block (1.8%), when a shown in Figure 2.
response was anticipatory and occurred within the
first 200 ms, or if trial RT exceeded 2.5 SD from Stimulus-locked EMG analysis
the participant’s mean RT for each condition The muscle activity data for the entire time
(3.1%). Trials that contained a response error or course (0 ms2000 ms) following stimulus onset
immediately followed a response error (7.7%) were analysed in two ANOVAs, one for each
were excluded from RT and EMG analyses. An muscle. These data were averaged into seven
analysis of errors was conducted on the response 300 ms time windows, and split by the Compat-
error trials; trials that immediately followed ibility factor. Prior analyses revealed no significant
response error trials were not excluded from that main effects or interactions with the Block or
analysis. Colour factors, and these were excluded from
further analysis. For zygomaticus activity, there
was an overall difference in muscle activity with
RESULTS higher cheek muscle activity on sr Compatible
trials than Incompatible trials, F(1, 23)6.00,
Behavioural results
p.02. This compatibility effect varied over the
Reaction time and error data from blocks 1 to 5 time course, F(6, 138)3.44, p.003: there was
were analysed using repeated-measures analyses of a significant difference (pB.05) in the 1200,
variance (ANOVAs). There were no main effects 1500, and 1800 ms time periods revealed by
or interactions with the colour or category factors paired t-tests. For corrugator activity, there was
and these data will not be discussed further. no significant difference in response to Compa-
As predicted, Compatible (M659, SD114) tible and Incompatible trials (p.22) and this
responses result in significantly shorter reaction effect did not vary across the time course (p.6).
times than Incompatible (M672, SD112) These data are shown in Figure 2.

686 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4)

Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010



Figure 2. Electromyographic results for sr compatibility. Stimulus-locked data with timing relative to stimulus onset presented at the top and response-locked data with timing relative to
the key-press response presented at the bottom. *p B.05.

Response-locked EMG analysis should be more broadly thought of as relating to

the efficiency of sensorimotor processing.
With the categorisation response set at 0 ms on The procedure of combining Simon and Small
each trial, data were averaged into 300 ms time (1969) spatial compatibility with Tucker and Ellis
windows for the period 300 ms pre-response to (1998) object affordance produced robust sr
1200 ms post-response. For the zygomaticus, compatibility effects in both RTs and errors.
there was a marginally significant trend for This predicted pattern of sr compatibility effects
increased activity for Compatible trials, F(1, allowed us to test our hypothesis that sensori-
23)3.52, p.07, and as with the stimulus motor fluency would evoke specific affective
locked analysis this effect varied over the time responses. As predicted, the activity of the
course, F(5, 115)2.48, p.04. Analysis of the zygomaticus muscle mirrored the RT effect,
individual time bins revealed no significant effects with increased activity when responses were fast
at pre-response (p.4), but after response there
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

due to sr compatibility.

was significantly increased cheek muscle activity The charts in Figure 2 show that divergence
for Compatible responses in the 900 ms and between compatibility conditions for muscle
1200 ms periods (pB.05). For the corrugator, activity over the cheek increased across the time
there was no significant difference between Com- course of the trial. To decode this activity further,
patible and Incompatible responses (p.38), and the response-locked analysis confirmed that
this effect did not vary across the pre- and post- zygomaticus activity discriminates between sr
response periods (p.30). conditions after the response is executed but not
while a response was prepared (in the 300 ms
Liking data period immediately prior to the response). These
findings suggest that fluency of action execution
Unlike the behavioural response data and the may evoke positive affect, as well as fluency of
EMG data, there was no effect of sr compat- action simulation (e.g., Beilock & Holt, 2007;
ibility on explicit liking. Compatible objects Van den Bergh, Vrana, & Eelen, 1990).
(M4.41, SD0.70) were not rated signifi- As with previous investigations of fluency that
cantly differently from Incompatible objects use EMG, a significant effect was only observed
(M4.36, SD0.65), p.87. in the zygomaticus cheek muscle (Harmon-Jones
& Allen, 2001; Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001;
Winkielman et al., 2006). Corrugator muscle
DISCUSSION activity, which has been associated with negative
affect and with effort, was not influenced by
The data presented here demonstrate that positive sensorimotor fluency. This suggests that fluency
affect resulting from fluency is not restricted to resulting from simple perceptual processing and
simple perceptual manipulations. Previous studies performing simple sensorimotor tasks both only
have demonstrated that efficient perceptual pro- influence positive affect. This result is in line with
cessing increases positive affect (Harmon-Jones & Winkielman and Cacioppo’s model of hedonic
Allen, 2001; Reber et al., 1998; Winkielman & fluency, which asserts that fluency produces
Cacioppo, 2001; Winkielman et al., 2006), but to specifically positive affective experiences. None-
date these experiments had not tested whether theless, observation of Figure 2 promotes caution.
this effect exists for an embodied vision and action There were trends in the predicted direction for
system. As predicted, fast responses were found to the corrugator muscle activity, and this is espe-
result in higher cheek muscle activity than slow cially noticeable in the response-locked data.
responses. These data suggest that the positive These trends in the data where corrugator activity
affect resulting from perceptual fluency is not is greater in incompatible tasks are in line with the
restricted to purely perceptual manipulations, but findings of Topolinski et al. (2009). Therefore it

688 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4)


remains an open issue as to whether effects of changes in explicit liking ratings due to perceptual
motor fluency can be detected in both corrugator fluency without any reference to the affect system.
and zygomaticus muscles. Further work, perhaps Rather, participants experience a change in pro-
requiring more complex and effortful processing, cessing fluency, and then attempt to explain this
might detect corrugator effects. experience via the explicit task demands of
It is interesting to observe that compatible evaluating the stimuli. In this account there is
objects were not explicitly liked more than no direct emotional experience, only a subsequent
incompatible objects. A similar experiment in- reinterpretation in terms of possible emotions.
vestigating gaze cueing (Bayliss et al., 2006) The present data cannot be explained in this way.
successfully reported an explicit liking effect for Furthermore, the lack of an effect when liking was
objects that were the target of an eye gaze. This measured with an explicit Likert scale also does
study used the same stimulus set as the present not support this account; these data therefore
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

study, over six blocks, with explicit ratings made support the hedonic model, in which fluency
in the final block using the same rating scale as produces a direct affective experience (Reber
the present study. This suggests that the lack of an et al., 1998; Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001;
explicit liking effect was not a methodological Winkielman, Schwarz, Fazendeiro, & Reber,
artefact, and may demonstrate an implicit affec- 2003).
tive process. Positive affect may not have been In the perceptual domain, it has been proposed
consciously accessible using the present explicit that the function of a fluency-related affective
measure, although this is not to suggest that it will signal is to provide information about the state of
not influence subsequent behaviour. Therefore processing and the environment, and to act as a
the lack of effect when explicit verbal reports are reward that might facilitate continued cognitive
required does not challenge the conclusion that processing (Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001). In
efficient sensorimotor processing results in the the motor domain, affect evoked by fluent motor
experience of positive affect. actions likely acts as a reward that facilitates the
Although previous studies have shown that learning of optimal action patterns (Hayes, Paul,
sensorimotor fluency can affect decision processes Beuger, & Tipper, 2008). For example, positive
such as personal-trait assignments (e.g., Bach & affect following action execution may have
Tipper, 2007; Tipper & Bach, 2008), this is the important implications for sequence learning
first study to show that sensorimotor fluency findings (e.g., Willingham, Nissen, & Bullemer,
evokes positive emotions that can be detected 1989). In Willingham and colleagues’ work,
using direct recording techniques that do not participants were required to press a specific key
require conscious report. It is critical to note that whenever it was indicated by a corresponding
participants were unaware that their emotional light. Responses were faster when the pattern of
reaction was of any relevance to the experiment. responses follows a repeated sequence, even when
Their sole goal was simply to categorise objects as the participant was unaware that there was a
quickly and accurately as possible; during the four pattern. If positive affect such as occurred in the
blocks when EMG were recorded, they had no present study also occurs whenever participants
knowledge of the explicit liking rating task that make a rapid response in sequence learning tasks,
they would perform in the final block. Therefore then it is possible that this positive affect acts as
we can be confident that we are detecting an internal source of positive reinforcement for
emotional responses that are implicit and not that behaviour, moderating efficient sequence
affected by task demands. This is of importance as learning. That is, we may detect small changes
it challenges accounts that argue that processing in our cognitive processes through affective feed-
fluency does not directly affect emotional reac- back and these positive feelings guide the devel-
tions. For example, as reviewed by Winkielman opment of efficient behavioural patterns. This has
and Cacioppo (2001), some models account for been described as the feeling-as-information

COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4) 689


heuristic (Schwarz, 1990), and in the current psychophysiological and individual differences
study we hypothesise that this helps the system approaches. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,
detect subtle differences in sensorimotor fluency, 27, 889898.
and adapt behaviour appropriately. Hayes, A. E., Paul, M. A., Beuger, B., & Tipper, S. P.
(2008). Self produced and observed actions influence
In summary, the data presented here support
emotion: The roles of action fluency and eye gaze.
previous studies in which ease of perceptual
Psychological Research, 72, 461472.
processing results in the direct experience of Hommel, B. (1995). Stimulusresponse compatibility
positive affect. These findings also extend pre- and the Simon effect: Toward an empirical clarifica-
vious research into fluency by demonstrating that tion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human
efficient action increases positive affect. Perception and Performance, 21(4), 764775.
Humphreys, G. W., Riddoch, M. J., Forti, S., &
Manuscript received 20 February 2008 Ackroyd, K. (2004). Action influences spatial per-
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

Revised manuscript received 25 February 2009 ception: Neuropsychological evidence. Visual Cogni-
Manuscript accepted 18 March 2009 tion, 11(23), 401427.
First published online 12 June 2009 Reber, R., Winkielman, P., & Schwarz, N. (1998).
Effects of perceptual fluency on affective judge-
ments. Psychological Science, 9(1), 4548.
Schwarz, N. (1990). Feeling as information: Informa-
REFERENCES tional and motivational functions of affective states.
In E. T. Higgins & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.),
Bach, P., & Tipper, S. P. (2007). Implicit action Handbook of motivation and cognition (pp. 527
encoding influences personal-trait judgements. Cog- 561). New York: Guilford Press.
nition, 102, 151178. Simon, J. R., & Small, A. M., Jr. (1969). Processing
Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., auditory information: Interference from an irrele-
Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism- vant cue. Journal of Applied Psychology, 53(5), 433
spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger 435.
syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and Symes, E., Ellis, R., & Tucker, M. (2005). Dissociating
females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of object-based and space-based affordances. Visual
Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(1), 517. Cognition, 12(7), 13371361.
Bayliss, A. P., Paul, M. A., Cannon, P., & Tipper, S. P. Tipper, S. P., & Bach, P. (2008). Your own actions
(2006). Gaze cueing and affective judgments of influence how you perceive other people: A mis-
objects: I like what you look at. Psychonomic Bulletin attribution of action appraisals. Journal of Experi-
& Review, 13(6), 10611066. mental Social Psychology, 44, 10821090.
Beilock, S. L., & Holt, L. E. (2007). Embodied Topolinski, S., Likowski, K. U., Weyers, P., & Strack,
preference judgments: Can likeability be driven by F. (2009). The face of fluency: Semantic coherence
the motor system? Psychological Science, 18(1), 5157. automatically elicits a specific pattern of facial
Bornstein, R. F., & D’Agostino, P. R. (1994). The muscle reactions. Cognition and Emotion, 23, 260
attribution and discounting of perceptual fluency: 261.
Preliminary tests of a perceptual fluency/attribu- Tucker, M., & Ellis, R. (1998). On the relations
tional model of mere exposure. Social Cognition, 12, between seen objects and components of potential
103128. actions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human
Fridlund, A. J., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Guidelines Perception and Performance, 24(3), 830846.
for human electromyographic research. Psychophy- Van den Bergh, O., Vrana, S., & Eelen, P. (1990).
siology, 23(5), 567589. Letters from the heart: Affective categorization of
Goodale, M. A., Milner, A. D., Jakobson, L. S., & letter combinations in typists and nontypists. Journal
Carey, D. P. (1991). A neurological dissociation of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and
between perceiving objects and grasping them. Cognition, 16, 11531161.
Nature, 349(6305), 154156. Willingham, D. B., Nissen, M. J., & Bullemer, P.
Harmon-Jones, E., & Allen, J. J. B. (2001). The role of (1989). On the development of procedural
affect in the mere exposure effect: Evidence from and declarative knowledge. Journal of Experimental

690 COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4)


Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15, Winkielman, P., Schwarz, N., Fazendeiro, T., & Reber,
10471060. R. (2003). The hedonic marking of processing
Winkielman, P., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2001). Mind at fluency: Implications for evaluative judgement. In
ease puts a smile on the face: Psychophysiological J. Munsch & K. C. Klauer (Eds.), The psychology of
evidence that processing facilitation elicits positive evaluation: Affective processes in cognition and emotion
affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (pp. 189217). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
81(6), 9891000. Associates, Inc.
Winkielman, P., Halberstadt, J., Fazendeiro, T., & Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere
Catty, S. (2006). Prototypes are attractive because exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
they are easy on the mind. Psychological Science, 9(2), 127.
17(9), 799806.
Downloaded By: [Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile] At: 14:30 1 October 2010

COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2010, 24 (4) 691