Edited by Jeanette Altarriba, Aneta Pavlenko and Norman Segalowitz
[The Mental Lexicon 3:1] 2008
► pp. 29–46
The representation of emotion words in memory is a relatively new area of research within the cognitive domain. In the present paper, these words will be examined with the use of the Stroop paradigm. In the past, this paradigm has been used to investigate a wide variety of word types, including color words and color-related words. Only a few studies have examined emotion words. The current study investigates a particular set of emotion words that were either congruent or incongruent with the color they were presented in (e.g., ENVY in green ink or red ink), much like standard Stroop stimuli (RED in red ink or green ink). The results of Experiment 1 revealed that emotion stimuli can be studied in the same manner as color words and color-related words, such as fire. When the congruent and incongruent items were presented together, within the same block in Experiment 2, the color items and color-related emotion items still produced a Stroop interference effect, but the color-related emotionally neutral items did not. The results of Experiment 2 suggest that evaluative information (i.e., negative valence) is automatically accessed regardless of the task at hand. The current study speaks to the need to include negative valence as an important factor in models of word recognition.
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