September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Stimulus strength and visual competition contribute to individual differences in Stroop-Task performance
Author Affiliations
  • Marnix Naber
    Leiden University, Cognitive Psychology, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, 2333AK, The Netherlands Harvard University, Vision Sciences Laboratory, 33 Kirkland st., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • Stephen Brown
    Leiden University, Cognitive Psychology, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, 2333AK, The Netherlands
  • Anneke Vedder
    Harvard University, Vision Sciences Laboratory, 33 Kirkland st., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Utrecht University, Clinical and Health Psychology, Heidelberglaan 1, Utrecht, 3584CS, The Netherlands
  • Sander Nieuwenhuis
    Leiden University, Cognitive Psychology, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, 2333AK, The Netherlands Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, LUMC, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 1336. doi:10.1167/15.12.1336
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      Marnix Naber, Stephen Brown, Anneke Vedder, Sander Nieuwenhuis; Stimulus strength and visual competition contribute to individual differences in Stroop-Task performance. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1336. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1336.

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      © 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

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Abstract

The Stroop task is a popular test for measuring executive control. In this task subjects are shown words describing a color in a font color that mismatches its description. The word’s meaning distracts and slows reaction times when subjects have to report the word’s font color. This is called Stroop interference. Popular computational models of the Stroop task indicate that a competition between words and colors underlies Stroop interference. It is possible that some of the variance in Stroop interference across individuals may be explained by differences in visual pathway strength and differences in competition between stimulus categories, independent of executive control. We designed an electrophysiological and psychophysical experiment to examine the effects of these variables on Stroop interference. In experiment 1, observers were presented with words and colors in isolation and event-related potentials (ERP) were measured to determine relative visual pathway strength. In experiment 2, observers reported target disappearances caused by motion-induced blindness as an indication of the strength of competition in the visual system. Observers also performed the Stroop task after experiment 1 and 2. In experiment 1 we found that the relative latencies of the P3 ERP component to words and colors highly predicted Stroop interference (50% variance explained). Furthermore, in experiment 2 the strength of motion-induced-blindness also predicted Stroop interference (40% variance explained). In neither experiment, these effects could be explained by trial-to-trial fluctuations in cognitive control. Hence, we conclude that the Stroop effect is largely determined by an individual’s pre-set characteristics in visual processing and competition between feature categories.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015

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