Annekathrin Schacht, Roland Nigbur and Werner Sommer

Emotions in Go/Nogo conflicts.

Psychological Research

On the basis of current emotion theories and functional and neurophysiological ties between the processing of conflicts and errors on the one hand and errors and emotions on the other hand we predicted that conflicts between prepotent Go responses and occasional NoGo trials in the Go/NoGo task would induce emotions. Skin conductance responses (SCRs), corrugator muscle activity, and startle blink responses were measured in three experiments requiring speeded Go responses intermixed with NoGo trials of different relative probability and in a choice reaction experiment serving as a control. NoGo trials affected several of these emotion-sensitive indicators as SCRs and startle blinks were reduced whereas corrugator activity was prolonged as compared to Go trials. From the pattern of findings we suggest that NoGo conflicts are not aversive. Instead, they appear to be appraised as obstructive for the response goal and as less action relevant than Go trials.