- When the mind forms fear: embodied fear knowledge potentiates bodily reactions
- Social Psychological and Personality Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 1 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
In the present study, the authors tested whether conceptual fear knowledge can (a) evoke bodily reactions and (b) enhance subsequent bodily reactions to fearful stimuli. Participants unscrambled neutral or fear sentences and subsequently viewed fearful and neutral pictures in combination with startle sounds. As predicted, the authors found embodied reactions (i.e., increased electrodermal and corrugator activity) while participants unscrambled fear sentences. Importantly, these embodied reactions occurred in the absence of a subjective fear experience. In addition, the authors found increased electrodermal activity while viewing fear pictures and a stronger startle modulation effect after fear concept activation. Finally, concerning electrodermal activity, the results demonstrated that the effect of concept activation on subsequent emotional responding was fully mediated by participants' embodied reactions. These findings extend recent research on emotion concepts by showing that embodied emotion knowledge potentiates subsequent emotional responding.
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