Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity

Version 1 : Received: 3 December 2019 / Approved: 4 December 2019 / Online: 4 December 2019 (12:37:18 CET)

How to cite: Ragunath, B.L.; Mulatti, C.; Neoh, M.J.; Bornstein, M.H.; Esposito, G. The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity. Preprints 2019, 2019120053 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201912.0053.v1). Ragunath, B.L.; Mulatti, C.; Neoh, M.J.; Bornstein, M.H.; Esposito, G. The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity. Preprints 2019, 2019120053 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201912.0053.v1).

Abstract

This study investigated the associations of imageability with fear reactivity. Imageability ratings of four word classes: positive and negative (i) emotional and (ii) propriosensitive, neutral and negative (iii) theoretical and (iv) neutral concrete filler, and fear reactivity scores – degree of fearfulness towards different situations (TF score) and total number of extreme fears and phobias (EF score), were obtained from 171 participants. Correlations between imageability, TF and EF scores were tested to analyze how word categories and their valence were associated with fear reactivity. Imageability ratings were submitted to recursive partitioning. Participants with high TF and EF scores had higher imageability for negative emotional and negative theoretical words. The correlations between imageability of negative emotional words and negative theoretical words for EF score were significant. Males showed stronger correlations for imageability of negative emotional words for EF and TF scores. High imageability for positive emotional words was associated with lower fear reactivity in females. These findings were discussed with regard to negative attentional bias theory of anxiety, influence on emotional systems, and gender-specific coping styles. This study provides insight into cognitive functions involved in mental imagery, semantic competence for mental imagery in relation to fear reactivity, and a potential psycholinguistic instrument assessing fear tendency.

Subject Areas

mental imagery; fear reactivity; emotion recognition; emotion regulation; propriosensitive

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