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IRC Seminar, presented by Dr Nico Biagi: "Effects of uncertainty, valence, and individual differences during an inhibitory control task"

564173 datadialogue mtime20200423152511
Event information
Date 5 March 2024
Time 13:00-14:00 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Price Free
Venue Henley Business School LG01
Event types:


External uncertain and valenced (e.g. threat, reward) events are known to engage motivational and emotional phenomena. However, there remain questions as to how uncertainty and valence interact to impact motivational and emotional phenomena: (1) generally, and (2) in relation to individual differences in intolerance of uncertainty, and current symptoms related to anxiety and depression.

To address these gaps in the literature, we manipulated the level of uncertainty (certain = trial feedback, uncertain = no trial feedback) and valence (negative = potential loss, positive = potential gain, neutral = no outcome) related to task performance during an online inhibitory control task (n =71), to examine how these factors impact different read-outs: subjective emotional responses, task accuracy and reaction times, and fixation count. Self-reported intolerance of uncertainty and symptoms of general distress, anxious arousal, and anhedonic depression were also collected. Both uncertainty and valence independently modulated subjective ratings of arousal, valence, and emotion, as well as task accuracy. Neither uncertainty nor valence modulated fixation count during the task.

We found very little evidence of interactions between uncertainty and valence, except that uncertainty with potential negative outcomes resulted in greater subjective ratings of frustration. Individual differences in intolerance of uncertainty and anhedonic depression were related to subjective ratings of valence during the task. Anxious arousal was related to fixation count overall during the task. These findings suggest that contextual uncertainty and valence, as well as intolerance of uncertainty, and anxious/depressive traits differently impact motivational and emotional phenomena.

Short bio on Presenter: Dr Nico Biagi is a lecturer in Business Data Analytics at BISA Henley Business School, merging a Ph.D. in Neuroscience with expertise in statistics and machine learning. Currently, he is leading research on the role played by intolerance of uncertainty in cognitive tasks.

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