Dissociating Biases towards the Self and Positive Emotion

Moritz Stolte* (Corresponding Author), Glyn Humphreys, Alla Yankouskaya, Jie Sui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


We examined whether self-biases in perceptual matching reflect the positive valence of self-related stimuli. Participants associated geometric shapes with either personal labels (e.g., you, friend, stranger) or faces with different emotional expressions (e.g., happy, neutral, sad). They then judged whether shape–label or shape–face pairs were as originally shown or re-paired. Match times were faster to self-associated stimuli and to stimuli associated with the most positive valence. In addition, both the self-bias and the positive emotion bias were reliable across individuals in different test sessions. In contrast there was no sign of a correlation between the self-bias and the emotion-bias effects. We argue that self-bias and the bias to stimuli linked to positive emotion are separate and may reflect different underlying processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1022
Number of pages12
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date29 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by an Advanced Investigator grant from the European Research Council [grant number Pepe: 323883]; the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) [grant number ES/J001597/1]; and by the National Nature Science Foundation of China [Project 31371017].


  • Self-bias
  • Positive emotion
  • Perceptual matching


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