Previously I conducted work investigating people’s memory of arithmetic facts, but since I have started my Ph.D. I have shifted the focus of my research. I now primarily focus on trying to understand the relationship between affect and cognition. Affect has to do with a change in the physiological state produced by an external or internal event. Valence is an interpretation, which gives us an emotion that is associated with a change in state. These emotions can be either positive (e.g., happy) or negative (e.g., hate). The dominant theory suggests that positive (attractive) affect broadens attention (i.e., focus on the forest, but not the trees). Conversely, negative (repulsive) affect narrows attention (i.e., focus on the trees, and not the forest). However, a new theory suggests that attention is broadened or narrowed independently of affect, and is determined instead by motivational intensity (i.e., the strength of the tendency to move towards or away from a stimulus), and the stronger this is, the more attention will be narrowed. I am particularly interested in determining what factors, like motivational intensity impact the relationship between affect and cognition. For example, consider a situation in which you are presented with an extremely negative picture (e.g., a bloody scene) or an extremely positive picture (e.g., a couple laughing) and then are asked to complete a task that measures your attention or memory: Does the affective response evoked by each picture change performance on the proceeding cognitive task? My research attempts to answer these questions.
Maslany, A. J., & Campbell, J. I. (2013). Failures to replicate hyper-retrieval-induced forgetting in arithmetic memory. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, 67(1), 72.
Campbell, J. I., Chen, Y., & Maslany, A. J. (2013). Retrieval-induced forgetting of arithmetic facts across cultures. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25(6), 759-773.
Selected Conference Presentations:
Maslany, A., Morar, N., & Graf, P. (May 14, 2017) What’s the relationship between affect and the scope of attention: a new answer to an old question? Speed Talk Presesented at the North West Cognition and Memory Conference. Simon Fraser University.
Fergusson, J., Maslany, A., & Graf, P. (June 3, 2017). A sad pot never boils: Time perception and valence. Talk Presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Sciences. Regina, Saskatchewan.
Maslany, A., Morar, N., Osman, M., & Graf, P. (June 3, 2017). A triple threat: Approach, avoidance and attention. Talk Presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Sciences. Regina, Saskatchewan.
Fergusson, J., Maslany, A., & Graf, P. (2016). Poster presented at the 31st Annual Congress of Psychology in Yokohama, Japan. July 26, 2016.
Maslany, A., Pestonji, N., Hart Smith, J. & Graf, P. (2016). What comes first: Affect or cognition? Talk presented at the 31st Annual Congress of Psychology in Yokohama, Japan. July 25, 2016.
Maslany, A. J., & Graf, P. (2014). The good, the bad and the neutral: An investigation of affect, motivation and memory. Poster presented at the North Western Cognition and Memory Conference. University of Victoria. Victoria, British Columbia.
Maslany, A. J., & Graf, P. (2014). The Good, the Bad and the Neutral: An Investigation of Affect, Motivation and Attention. Poster presented at the Canadian Psychological Association 75th Annual Convention. Vancouver, British Columbia.
Maslany, A. J., & Graf, P. (2014). The Bland and the Beautiful: The Effects of Emotion and Motivational Intensity on Memory. Poster session presented at Canadian Society for Brain Behaviour and Cognitive Sciences 23nd Annual Meeting at Ryerson University. Toronto, Ontario.