Exploring the Effects of Emotional Valence on Cognitive Performance in School Children: An Experimental Study


Working memory Lexical Decision
Positive Emotion Negative Emotion

How to Cite

Chaman, A., Iftikhar, R., & Abbas, J. (2023). Exploring the Effects of Emotional Valence on Cognitive Performance in School Children: An Experimental Study. Nature-Nurture Journal of Psychology, 3(2), 20–30. https://doi.org/10.53107/nnjp.v3i2.48


Background:Emotions constitute a fundamental factor in the development of cognitive function within educational and clinical environments, exerting a substantial effect on cognitive processes, especially in homework and examination tasks that often provoke diverse emotional conditions, including boredom, frustration, and irritability in schoolchildren. Empirical studies have exposed that emotions possess the ability to either hinder or enhance a person's memory function. Therefore, the present study elucidated the investigation of how positive and negative emotions impact working memory and lexical decision-making in school-aged children within a Pakistani context.

Method: This study employed a pretest-posttest, between-group experimental design using a simple randomized sampling technique to recruit four hundred schoolchildren whose ages ranged from 10 to 14 years (M = 12.5, SD = 4.4) who were enrolled in various schools in Jhelum, Pakistan, from August 18 and November 12, 2020. These students were equally divided into experimental and control groups to receive neutral, positive and negative mood induction techniques. The study used three standardized psychological instruments to examine working memory, lexical decision, and emotional valence in the pretest and posttest phases.

Results: The findings highlighted that the experimental groups exhibited substantial improvements in working memory, word accuracy, problem-solving accuracy, and lexical decision accuracy in comparison to the control groups. Furthermore, this study’s results showed that the positive emotion group demonstrated shorter reaction times and superior accuracy in contrast to the negative emotion and other groups. While the negative emotion group exhibited longer reaction times in the post-trial inspection.

Conclusions: This study concluded that emotion induction techniques significantly affect lexical decision-making and working memory in schoolchildren. Further, positive emotion induction led to improved cognitive performance, especially enhanced levels of task accuracy and reaction time in Pakistani schoolchildren, while negative emotion induction had mixed effects. This study ensured an understanding of the underlying mechanisms of emotional induction and the potential applications of these results in educational settings.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Aqsa Chaman, Dr. Rabia Iftikha