Dissociating affective and semantic valence

Oksana Itkes, Ruth Kimchi, Hadeel Haj-Ali, Avia Shapiro, Assaf Kron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the possible dissociation between two modes of valence: affective valence (valence of e emotional response) and semantic valence (stored knowledge about valence of an object or event). In Experiment 1, 50 participants viewed affective pictures that were repeatedly presented while their facial electromyography (EMG) activation and heart rate response were continuously recorded. Half of the participants provided self-report ratings about the valence of their feelings and half about the valence of the stimulus. Next, all participants performed an affective Simon task. In Experiment 2, 30 new participants performed the affective Simon task with the repeated exposure embedded within the task. The results showed that measures related to affective valence (feelings-focused self-reports, heart rate, and facial EMG activations) attenuated with repeated exposure to pleasant and unpleasant pictures, whereas measures related to semantic valence (knowledge-focused self-reports and congruency effect of affective Simon task) did not. These findings strongly suggest that affective and semantic valence represent two distinct psychological constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)924-942
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Psychological Association.


  • Affective Simon
  • Emotional response
  • Habituation
  • Repeated exposure
  • Valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Dissociating affective and semantic valence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this