Effects of Emotional Experience for Abstract Words in the Stroop Task

Cognitive Science 38 (8):1698-1717 (2014)
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In this study, we examined the effects of emotional experience, a relatively new dimension of emotional knowledge that gauges the ease with which words evoke emotional experience, on abstract word processing in the Stroop task. In order to test the context-dependency of these effects, we accentuated the saliency of this dimension in Experiment 1A by blocking the stimuli such that one block consisted of the stimuli with the highest emotional experience ratings and the other block consisted of the stimuli with the lowest emotional experience ratings. We attenuated the saliency of this dimension in Experiment 1B by intermixing the stimuli. We observed slower color naming performance for words with higher emotional experience ratings only in Experiment 1A, suggesting that the dimension of emotional experience is an aspect of semantic representation for abstract words but that its influence can be modulated by context. We interpret these results more generally using Vigliocco, Meteyard, Andrews, and Kousta's framework of semantic representation, and more specifically using Cohen, Dunbar, and McClelland's model of Stroop task performance



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