Trait anxiety, infrequent emotional conflict, and the emotional face Stroop task

du Rocher, A. R. and Pickering, Alan. 2017. Trait anxiety, infrequent emotional conflict, and the emotional face Stroop task. Personality and Individual Differences, 111, pp. 157-162. ISSN 0191-8869 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Research shows that anxiety may relate to any or all of the following: goal conflict resolution; distraction, and the automatic detection of threat-related stimuli. To investigate these relationships we used a modified Stroop task where fearful and happy emotional target faces are overlaid with either emotionally neutral, emotionally congruent or emotionally incongruent distracting words. A trait anxiety related speed-accuracy trade-off seemed to primarily reduce accuracy during incongruent trials with target fearful faces overlaid with the emotionally conflicting word happy. We offer an explanation of this effect based upon theories of how positive stimuli and threat-related stimuli differentially affect information processing. Future studies should seek to verify how the anxiety related speed-accuracy trade-off mechanism is activated, and elucidate how and when positive stimuli affect anxiety more than threat-related stimuli do.

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Identification Number (DOI):


Anxiety; Conflict; Distraction; Emotion; Attention; Stroop

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6 February 2017Accepted
12 February 2017Published Online
1 June 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Jul 2017 15:39

Last Modified:

09 Jan 2020 13:56

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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