Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 33–41 | Cite as

Assessment of intrusive cognition in PTSD: Use of the modified Stroop paradigm

  • Richard J. McNally
  • George E. English
  • Howard J. Lipke


In this article, we review research supporting the modified Stroop color-naming paradigm as a means for assessing intrusive cognition in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Because Stroop interference reflects involuntary semantic activation, delayed color-naming of trauma-related words can provide an objective index of intrusive cognition that is not based on self-report. In a replication and extension of previous research, we found that Vietnam combat veterans with PTSD exhibited Stroop interference for trauma-related words but not for other threat words, positive words, or neutral words. Also, we provide reliability and validity data on the paradigm.

Key Words

post-traumatic stress disorder Stroop color-naming paradigm attentional bias intrusive thoughts 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. McNally
    • 1
  • George E. English
    • 2
  • Howard J. Lipke
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridge
  2. 2.Psychology ServiceNorth Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical CenterUSA

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