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Title: The effect of sexual arousal and emotional arousal on working memory
Author(s): Au, Ricky Kwok Cheong 
Author(s): Tang, V. K. Y.
Issue Date: 2019
Journal: Cogent Psychology 
Volume: 6
Issue: 1
Start page: 1
End page: 20
Previous studies suggested that, compared to normal people, people who have compulsive sexual behaviours exhibit stronger brain activities in the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate, and amygdala. Activities at these brain areas in people with compulsive sexual behaviours may influence their cognitive functions such as working memory (WM). The present study investigated how sexual arousal and emotional arousal would affect WM performance using a 3-back task. Experiment 1 tested the effect of sexual arousal and emotional arousal (positive and negative) on WM performance using a 3-back task with English alphabets as stimuli. Experiment 2 examined whether the effect of sexual arousal on WM would be different in different types of 3-back tasks (using alphabetical, colour, and pictorial stimuli). Interestingly, people had better WM performance under the negative emotional arousal of fear and sexual arousal. Elevated attention and alertness are the possible causes of the better WM performance under such states. Correlation analyses showed that people with a higher tendency of compulsive sexual behaviour had worse performance in the 3-back tasks. Overall, this study provided new insights regarding the effect of emotional arousal and sexual arousal on cognitive functions.
DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2019.1645260
CIHE Affiliated Publication: Yes
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