Is the emotional Stroop task a special case of mood induction? Evidence from sustained effects of attention under emotion

Abstract

Sustained effects of emotion are well known in everyday experience. Surprisingly, such effects are seldom recorded in laboratory studies of the emotional Stroop task, in which participants name the color of emotion and neutral words. Color performance is more sluggish with emotion words than with neutral words, the emotional Stroop effect (ESE). The ESE is not sensitive to the order in which the two groups of words are presented, so the effect of exposure to emotion words does not extend to disrupting performance in a subsequent block with neutral words. We attribute this absence of a sustained effect to habituation engendered by excessive repetition of the experimental stimuli. In a series of four experiments, we showed that sustained effects do occur when habituation is removed, and we also showed that the massive exposure to negative stimuli within the ESE paradigm induces a commensurately negative mood. A novel perspective is offered, in which the ESE is considered a special case of mood induction.

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Notes

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    All correlations were in the predicted direction (sign-wise) and were fairly noticeably numerically, but several did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance. We report here those that did.

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Correspondence to Moshe Shay Ben-Haim.

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Ben-Haim, M.S., Mama, Y., Icht, M. et al. Is the emotional Stroop task a special case of mood induction? Evidence from sustained effects of attention under emotion. Atten Percept Psychophys 76, 81–97 (2014). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-013-0545-7

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Keywords

  • Sustained effects
  • Emotion
  • Habituation
  • Mood induction
  • Emotional Stroop effect