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Anika Gearhart, Basil Wahn, Scott Sinnett; Social presence and multimodal presentation of attentional cues: possible moderators of the Stroop effect. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):483. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.483.
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The Stroop effect, in which automatic processing of semantic information interferes with color naming, is a well-documented psychological phenomenon. However, despite the abundance of research on the task, it is unclear how the Stroop interference effect may be moderated when presenting stimuli in other sensory modalities, or by different social factors. It is clear that the vast majority of research involving the Stroop effect has involved visual presentations, however a vast and growing literature demonstrates that multimodal presentations can reduce task difficulty, and in theory should lead to improved processing in the Stroop task. In other relevant research, the introduction of a social actor in a visual-tactile interference task reduced this congruency effect, to the extent that the presence of the social actor was a more effective moderator on performance than modality (Heed, Habets, Sebanz, Knoblich, 2010). The present research extends these findings by exploring a) how a visual-auditory Stroop task differs in interference strength from a visual only Stoop, and b) how the presence of a social actor performing a task might moderate the Stroop effect seen in both the unimodal and multimodal version of the Stroop task. Participants were divided into four conditions: visual Stroop alone or with a partner and visual-auditory Stroop alone or with a partner. The partner in both tasks was a confederate and performed an unrelated task at the same computer as the target participant. Results indicate a main effect for both partner and modality but no interaction effect, suggesting that both social presence of a partner and the presentation of stimuli in multiple modalities may reduce the interference caused by the automatic processing of irrelevant cues. This may be a result of either social facilitation (Huguet, Galvaing, Monteil & Dumas, 1999) or attentional cueing, respectively.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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