The Influence of Working Memory Load on Expectancy-Based Strategic Processes in the Stroop-Priming Task

Ortells, JJ; Álvarez, D; Noguera, C; Carmona, E and De Fockert, J. W.. 2017. The Influence of Working Memory Load on Expectancy-Based Strategic Processes in the Stroop-Priming Task. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(129), ISSN 1664-1078 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The present study investigated whether a differential availability of cognitive control resources as a result of varying working memory (WM) load could affect the capacity for expectancy-based strategic actions. Participants performed a Stroop-priming task in which a prime word (GREEN or RED) was followed by a colored target (red vs. green) that participants had to identify. The prime was incongruent or congruent with the target color on 80 and 20% of the trials, respectively, and participants were informed about the differential proportion of congruent vs. incongruent trials. This task was interleaved with a WM task, such that the prime word was preceded by a sequence of either a same digit repeated five times (low load) or five different random digits (high load), which should be retained by participants. After two, three, or four Stroop trials, they had to decide whether or not a probe digit was a part of the memory set. The key finding was a significant interaction between prime-target congruency and WM load: Whereas a strategy dependent (reversed Stroop) effect was found under low WM load,
a standard Stroop interference effect was observed under high WM load. These findings demonstrate that the availability of WM is crucial for implementing expectancy-based strategic actions.

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working memory load, cognitive control resources, Stroop interference, Stroop priming effects, expectancy-based strategic processes.

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1 February 2017Published
18 January 2017Accepted

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Date Deposited:

01 Nov 2017 14:34

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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