Emotional Stroop test

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In psychology, the emotional Stroop task is used as an information-processing approach to assessing emotions.[1] Related to the standard Stroop effect, the emotional Stroop test works by examining the response time of the participant to name colors of negative emotional words. For example, depressed participants will be slower to say the color of depressing words rather than non-depressing words. Non-clinical subjects have also been shown to name the color of an emotional word (e.g., "war", "cancer", "kill") slower than naming the color of a neutral word (e.g., "clock", "lift", "windy").[2]

While the emotional Stroop test and the classic Stroop effect elicit similar behavioral outcomes (a slowing in response times to colored words), these tests engage different mechanisms of interference.[3] The classic Stroop test creates a conflict between an incongruent color and word (the word "RED" in font color blue) but the emotional Stroop involves only emotional and neutral words—color does not affect slowing because it does not conflict with word meaning. In other words, studies show the same effects of slowing for emotional words relative to neutral even if all the words are black. Thus, the emotional Stroop does not involve an effect of conflict between a word meaning and a color of text, but rather appears to capture attention and slow response time due to the emotional relevance of the word for the individual. The emotional Stroop test has been used broadly in clinical studies using emotional words related to a particular individual's area of concern, such as alcohol-related words for someone who is alcoholic, or words involving a particular phobia for someone with anxiety or phobic disorders. Both the classic and the emotional Stroop tests, however, involve the need to suppress responses to distracting word information, while selectively maintaining attention on the color of the word to complete the task.[4]

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  1. ^ Ben-Haim, MS; Williams, P; Williams, Z; Mama, Y; Eidels, A; Algom, D (Jun 2016). "The Emotional Stroop Task: Assessing Cognitive Performance under Exposure to Emotional Content". J Vis Exp. 112: e53720. doi:10.3791/53720. PMID 27405091.
  2. ^ Gotlib, Ian H.; McCann, C. Douglas (1984). "Construct accessibility and depression: An examination of cognitive and affective factors". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 47 (2): 427–439. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.47.2.427. ISSN 0022-3514. OCLC 1783133. PMID 6481620.
  3. ^ McKenna, Frank P.; Sharma, Dinkar (2004). "Reversing the Emotional Stroop Effect Reveals That It Is Not What It Seems: The Role of Fast and Slow Components". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 30 (2): 382–92. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.30.2.382. ISSN 0278-7393. OCLC 7949766.
  4. ^ Compton, Rebecca J.; Banich, Marie T.; Mohanty, Aprajita; Milham, Michael P.; Herrington, John; Miller, Gregory A.; Scalf, Paige E.; Webb, Andrew; Heller, Wendy (2003). "Paying attention to emotion: an fMRI investigation of cognitive and emotional Stroop tasks" (PDF). Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience. 3 (2): 81–96. doi:10.3758/CABN.3.2.81. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  • Algom, D.; Chajut, E.; Lev, S. (2005). "A rational look at the emotional stroop phenomenon: a generic slowdown, not a stroop effect". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 134: 585–91. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.134.4.585.