Loneliness is a growing public health problem. Lonely individuals show a characteristic negative bias in the cognitive processing of socioemotional information. In the current study, we tested the effects of a novel computerized feedback-based interpretation training on socioemotional information processing. Lonely and non-lonely participants were assigned equally to training groups. During interpretation training, the promotion training group learned to associate subthreshold fearful and neutral expressions with socially more favorable labels than less favorable ones. The control training group learned to associate the same facial expressions with socially less favorable labels. After training, participants performed three socioemotional tasks. Results revealed that promotion training reduced associations between loneliness and recognition of anger and fear in lonely participants. In addition, compared to control training, promotion training significantly increased the likelihood of evaluating surprise expressions as positive rather than negative. This positive evaluation bias toward surprise faces increased in lonely participants with greater promotion learning. However, only non-lonely participants showed increased willingness to approach an unfamiliar female face after promotion training relative to control training. Despite this limitation, the findings demonstrate the potential of our novel feedback-based interpretation training in mitigating characteristic processing of socioemotional information among lonely people.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT ( NRF-2017M3C7A1041823 , NRF-2020R1A2C2007193 ), South Korea, and by the Ministry of Education ( NRF-2017R1D1A1A09000664 ), South Korea.
© 2020 The Author(s)
- Emotion recognition
- Evaluation bias
- Interpretation training
- Negativity bias
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction