Emotionality Processing: Bilinguals and Personality
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This thesis discusses two studies addressing how bilinguals process different types of emotional/emotional-laden English-Spanish words (positive [kiss-beso] vs. neutral [tool-herramienta] vs. negative [rotten-podrido]) from a Dimensional approach by looking at the two major emotional dimensions of valence (unpleasant to pleasant) and arousal (calm to excited). Study 1 extends Spanish norms to a bilingual population. A rating task for valence and arousal was used in which participants rated how the different word types made them feel on a 1-9 scale (Unhappy: Calm = 1 to Happy: Excited = 9). The results obtained were correlated with the original study suggesting valence is a better predictor of emotion than arousal. In study 2, bilinguals participated in a lexical decision task involving reaction time (RT) as an index of word processing, while completing Personality (NEO-FFI 3), Depression (BDI-II), and Anxiety (STAI) inventories. A two-way mixed linear effects model analysis showed a main effect for valence (positive, neutral, and negative words) and an interaction between Group1/Group2 (clinical vs. nonclinical) x Valence. This analysis showed slower processing of negative stimuli by both groups, while for positive stimuli, the nonclinical group demonstrated a faster processing as opposed to the clinical group (i.e., slower processing). Correlations of interest between the predictor variables such as neuroticism and the clinical groups revealed positive correlations (Group1 r = .62, p ≤ .01; Group2 r = .63, p ≤ .01), while the opposite pattern was seen with extraversion (Group1 r = -.28, p ≤ .01; Group2 r = -.31, p ≤ .01). Lastly, a multivariate multiple regression analysis revealed a marginally significant model in which the different word types were significantly affected by Group1: F(3,62) = 3.05 p ≤ .05, Agreeableness: F(3,62) = 2.71 p ≤ .05, and an interaction of Group1 and Conscientiousness: F(3,62) = 3.46 p ≤ .05. Results are discussed in relation to bilingual cognitive processing models and applications for bilingual counseling.