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Passage 1

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Passage 1

Anger is a negative emotion. But, like being happy or excited, feeling angry makes people want to seek rewards, accordi ng to a new study of emotion and visual attention. The researchers found that people who are angry pay more attention to rewards than to threats -- the opposite of people feeling other negative emotions like fear.

Previous research has shown that emotion affects what someone pays attention to. If a fearful or anxious person is given a choice of a rewarding picture, like a sexy couple, or a threatening picture, like a person waving a knife threateningly, they'll spend more time looking at the threat than at the rewarding picture. People feeling excitement, however, are the other way -- they'll go for the reward.

But nobody knows whether those reactions occur because the emotions are positive or negative, or because of something else, says Brett Q. Ford of Boston College, who wrote the study with Maya Tamir, also of Boston College, and four other authors. For example, she says, "emotions can vary in what they make you want to do. Fear is associated with a motivation to avoid, whereas excitement is associated with a motivation to approach. It can make you want to seek out certain things, like rewards." The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

For her study, Ford focused on anger. Like fear, anger is a negative emotion. But, like excitement, anger motivates someone to go out and get rewards. First, participants in the study were assigned to write for 15 minutes about one of four memories in their past: a time when they were angry, afraid, excited and happy, or felt little or no emotion. A five-minute piece of music reinforced whichever emotion the participant had been assigned. Then they completed a task in which they had to examine two side-by-side pictures. An eye-tracking device monitored how much time they spent looking at each picture. Angry people spent more time looking at the rewarding pictures. Looking at something is the first step before the thoughts and actions that follow, says Ford. "Attention kicks off an entire string of events that can end up influencing behavior." The people who felt happy and excited also looked more at the rewarding photos, but the two groups might act differently -- an angry person might be motivated approach something in a confrontational or aggressive way, while a happy person might go for something they want in a nicer way -- by collaborating, being sociable and friendly.

Passage 3

University of Washington experts have warned that the way modern technology has been breaking people’s connections with the natural world may give rise to a major psychological problem. We are a technological species, but we also need a deep connection with nature in our lives, said Peter Kahn, a UW developmental psychologist.

Kahn and two of his UW graduate students, Rachel Severson and Jolina Ruckert, explored how humans connect with nature and technological nature. Writing in the current issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, the researchers revealed that they looked at the psychological effects of interacting with various forms of technological nature and explore humanity’s growing estrangement(疏远)from nature. They even cited an earlier experiment that showed that people recovered better from low level stress by looking at an actual view of nature rather than seeing the same real-time high-definition television scene displayed on a plasma(等离子)window.

“What do we compare technology to? If we compare it to no nature, technological nature works pretty well. But if we compar e it to actual nature, it doesn’t seem to provide as many psychological benefits,” Kahn said.

They have also talked about a study that showed that compared to interacting with a real dog, children s interactions with robots were not as social or deep. Robot and virtual pets are beginning to replace children s interactions with biologically live pets.

The larger concern is that technological nature will shift the baseline of what people perceive as the full human experience of nature, and that it will contribute to what we call environmental generational amnesia,(环境失忆症)Ruckert said.

Kahn added poor air quality is a good example of physical degradation. We can choke on the air, and some people suffer asthma,(哮喘)but we tend to think that s a pretty normal part of the human condition.

Passage 4

When large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody, mystery writer Agatha Christie once said. But what if there is a biological reason for why we would trust others with our cash? Scientists have discovered that the hormone oxytocin, when sniffed, makes people more prone to trust others to look after their money.

To test the trusting effect of oxytocin, the researchers studied people who played an investment game. In the game, participants would choose how much money to hand over to a trustee. Investors were far more trusting after inhaling the

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