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Asi Schupak, Avner Caspi, Eran Chajut; Coping with Conflicts Improves Under Threat: Evidence from a Simon and a Visuo-Auditory Stroop Tasks. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):459. doi: 10.1167/15.12.459.
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A large body of research has suggested that our attentional system is distinctively sensitive to threat-related stimuli in the environment (for reviews see, Bar-Haim et al., 2007; Yiend, 2010). Recently, Chajut, Schupak, & Algom (2010) introduced a new paradigm in which changes in Stroop dilution effects (Kahneman & Chajczyk, 1983) are used to gauge the power of emotional (vs. neutral) words to bias attention. In this color naming task, a colored emotional or neutral word to be named (e.g. Death vs. Chair colored in blue) is accompanied by a color-word (e.g. Red) printed in black. The results showed that the Stroop effect (RT of incongruent trials minus RT of congruent trials) was smaller with emotion than with neutral words. This finding suggests that emotion words bias attention to a greater degree than do non-emotion ones, and is termed an emotional dilution of the Stroop effect (EDSE; Chajut et al., 2010). In this research we investigated whether the improved ability to cope with conflict observed in the EDSE is a viso-spatially biased phenomenon, namely a spatial allocation of attention that is biased toward emotional content, or an example of a general impact of threat on our basic ability to cope with conflicts. Two experiments recorded a dilution of conflict effect in conditions where conflict was dissociated from the visual stimuli of the color to be named: First, by deploying Stroop congruency conflict in an auditory modality (Experiment 1); and second, by implementing the setting of a Simon conflict (Experiment 2). The results indicate an improvement of participant's ability to cope with Stroop and Simon conflicts under threat condition, supporting the general impact of threat hypothesis.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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