The effect of happiness and sadness on alerting, orienting, and executive attention

Anne M Finucane, Martha C Whiteman, Mick J Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVE: According to the attention network approach, attention is best understood in terms of three functionally and neuroanatomically distinct networks-alerting, orienting, and executive attention. An important question is whether the experience of emotion differentially influences the efficiency of these networks.

METHOD: This study examines 180 participants were randomly assigned to a happy, sad, or control condition and undertook a modified version of the Attention Network Test.

RESULTS: The results showed no effect of happiness or sadness on alerting, orienting, or executive attention. However, sad participants showed reduced intrinsic alertness.

CONCLUSION: This suggests that sadness reduces general alertness rather than impairing the efficiency of specific attention networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-39
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Affect
  • Arousal
  • Attention
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Happiness
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation
  • Young Adult


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