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    Anxiety, emotional distraction, and attentional control in the Stroop task

    Kalanthroff, E. and Henik, A. and Derakhshan, Nazanin and Usher, Marius (2016) Anxiety, emotional distraction, and attentional control in the Stroop task. Emotion 16 (3), pp. 293-300. ISSN 1528-3542.

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    Using a Stroop task, we investigated the effect of task-irrelevant emotional distractors on attentional proactive control and its interaction with trait anxiety. On the basis of recent findings showing opposed neural responses in the dorsal-executive versus the ventral-emotional systems in response to emotional distractors and of the attentional control theory (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007), we hypothesized that negative distractors will result in a reduction of proactive task control in the executive system, especially for high-trait-anxious individuals. Using a computational model of the Stroop task, we derive 2 specific behavioral predictions of reduced proactive task control: increased Stroop interference and reversed Stroop facilitation. Twenty-five high- and 25 low-trait-anxious participants completed a Stroop task in which the target stimuli were preceded by brief (neutral vs. aversive) emotional distractors. While no effects of picture valence on proactive control was found in the low-anxious group, the predicted signatures of reduced proactive control were observed in the high-anxiety group. These results indicate that trait anxiety influences the interaction between irrelevant emotional stimuli and proactive control.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association 2016. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at the DOI cited above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 11:10
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:33


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