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From Memory to Attitude: The Neurocognitive Process beyond Euthanasia Acceptance.

Enke M, Meyer P, Flor H - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: Numerous questionnaire studies on attitudes towards euthanasia produced conflicting results, precluding any general conclusion.Reaction time data showed neither positive nor negative associations towards euthanasia.ERP analyses revealed an N400 priming effect with lower mean amplitudes when euthanasia was associated with negative words.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Numerous questionnaire studies on attitudes towards euthanasia produced conflicting results, precluding any general conclusion. This might be due to the fact that human behavior can be influenced by automatically triggered attitudes, which represent ingrained associations in memory and cannot be assessed by standard questionnaires, but require indirect measures such as reaction times (RT) or electroencephalographic recording (EEG). Event related potentials (ERPs) of the EEG and RT during an affective priming task were assessed to investigate the impact of automatically triggered attitudes and were compared to results of an explicit questionnaire. Explicit attitudes were ambivalent. Reaction time data showed neither positive nor negative associations towards euthanasia. ERP analyses revealed an N400 priming effect with lower mean amplitudes when euthanasia was associated with negative words. The euthanasia-related modulation of the N400 component shows an integration of the euthanasia object in negatively valenced associative neural networks. The integration of all measures suggests a bottom-up process of attitude activation, where automatically triggered negative euthanasia-relevant associations can become more ambiguous with increasing time in order to regulate the bias arising from automatic processes. These data suggest that implicit measures may make an important contribution to the understanding of euthanasia-related attitudes.

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Mean reaction times in milliseconds (ms) for the conditions congruent, incongruent, euthanasia-positive, and euthanasia-negative.Error bars reflect one standard error. Note: *** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05.
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pone.0153910.g002: Mean reaction times in milliseconds (ms) for the conditions congruent, incongruent, euthanasia-positive, and euthanasia-negative.Error bars reflect one standard error. Note: *** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05.

Mentions: The repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of condition (F(1.55,29.45) = 4.54, p = .027, ε = 0.517, partial η2 = .193). Post-hoc analyses showed that the mean reaction times of the conditions ‘congruent’ and ‘incongruent’ differed significantly (Fig 2, t(19) = -4.47, p ≤ 0.0001). Participants showed faster reactions in congruent prime-target pairs (M = 861.02, SD = 223.71) compared to incongruent pairs (M = 929.86, SD = 195.58). However, the mean reaction times of the conditions ‘euthanasia-positive’ and ‘euthanasia-negative’ did not differ significantly (p = .834). Differences as well as between ‘incongruent’ vs. ‘euthanasia-positive’ and ‘incongruent’ vs. euthanasia-negative also failed to reach statistical significance (p > .05), in contrast to ‘congruent’ vs. ‘euthanasia-positive’ (t(19) = 2.59, p = .018) and ‘congruent’ vs. ‘euthanasia-negative’ (t(19) = 3.68, p = .002).


From Memory to Attitude: The Neurocognitive Process beyond Euthanasia Acceptance.

Enke M, Meyer P, Flor H - PLoS ONE (2016)

Mean reaction times in milliseconds (ms) for the conditions congruent, incongruent, euthanasia-positive, and euthanasia-negative.Error bars reflect one standard error. Note: *** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4835050&req=5

pone.0153910.g002: Mean reaction times in milliseconds (ms) for the conditions congruent, incongruent, euthanasia-positive, and euthanasia-negative.Error bars reflect one standard error. Note: *** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05.
Mentions: The repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of condition (F(1.55,29.45) = 4.54, p = .027, ε = 0.517, partial η2 = .193). Post-hoc analyses showed that the mean reaction times of the conditions ‘congruent’ and ‘incongruent’ differed significantly (Fig 2, t(19) = -4.47, p ≤ 0.0001). Participants showed faster reactions in congruent prime-target pairs (M = 861.02, SD = 223.71) compared to incongruent pairs (M = 929.86, SD = 195.58). However, the mean reaction times of the conditions ‘euthanasia-positive’ and ‘euthanasia-negative’ did not differ significantly (p = .834). Differences as well as between ‘incongruent’ vs. ‘euthanasia-positive’ and ‘incongruent’ vs. euthanasia-negative also failed to reach statistical significance (p > .05), in contrast to ‘congruent’ vs. ‘euthanasia-positive’ (t(19) = 2.59, p = .018) and ‘congruent’ vs. ‘euthanasia-negative’ (t(19) = 3.68, p = .002).

Bottom Line: Numerous questionnaire studies on attitudes towards euthanasia produced conflicting results, precluding any general conclusion.Reaction time data showed neither positive nor negative associations towards euthanasia.ERP analyses revealed an N400 priming effect with lower mean amplitudes when euthanasia was associated with negative words.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Numerous questionnaire studies on attitudes towards euthanasia produced conflicting results, precluding any general conclusion. This might be due to the fact that human behavior can be influenced by automatically triggered attitudes, which represent ingrained associations in memory and cannot be assessed by standard questionnaires, but require indirect measures such as reaction times (RT) or electroencephalographic recording (EEG). Event related potentials (ERPs) of the EEG and RT during an affective priming task were assessed to investigate the impact of automatically triggered attitudes and were compared to results of an explicit questionnaire. Explicit attitudes were ambivalent. Reaction time data showed neither positive nor negative associations towards euthanasia. ERP analyses revealed an N400 priming effect with lower mean amplitudes when euthanasia was associated with negative words. The euthanasia-related modulation of the N400 component shows an integration of the euthanasia object in negatively valenced associative neural networks. The integration of all measures suggests a bottom-up process of attitude activation, where automatically triggered negative euthanasia-relevant associations can become more ambiguous with increasing time in order to regulate the bias arising from automatic processes. These data suggest that implicit measures may make an important contribution to the understanding of euthanasia-related attitudes.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus