Negative Emotional Stimuli Enhance Vestibular Processing

Preuss, Nora; Ellis, Andrew W.; Mast, Fred W. (2015). Negative Emotional Stimuli Enhance Vestibular Processing. Emotion, 15(4), pp. 411-415. American Psychological Association 10.1037/emo0000092

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Recent studies have shown that vestibular stimulation can influence affective processes. In the present study, we examined whether emotional information can also modulate vestibular perception. Participants performed a vestibular discrimination task on a motion platform while viewing emotional pictures. Six different picture categories were taken from the International Affective Picture System: mutilation, threat, snakes, neutral objects, sports, and erotic pictures. Using a Bayesian hierarchical approach, we were able to show that vestibular discrimination improved when participants viewed emotionally negative pictures (mutilation, threat, snake) when compared to neutral/positive objects. We conclude that some of the mechanisms involved in the processing of vestibular information are also sensitive to emotional content. Emotional information signals importance and mobilizes the body for action. In case of danger, a successful motor response requires precise vestibular processing. Therefore, negative emotional information improves processing of vestibular information.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Preuss, Nora, Ellis, Andrew, Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




American Psychological Association




Nora Preuss

Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2015 15:58

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:49

Publisher DOI:



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