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Stress reduces attention to irrelevant information: Evidence from the Stroop task

Booth, Rob, Sharma, Dinkar (2009) Stress reduces attention to irrelevant information: Evidence from the Stroop task. Motivation and Emotion, 33 (4). pp. 412-418. ISSN 0146-7239. (doi:10.1007/s11031-009-9141-5) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11031-009-9141-5

Abstract

Stroop interference can be reduced by stress, and this has been taken as evidence that stress decreases the attention paid to irrelevant information, a theory known as ‘Easterbrook’s hypothesis’. This contradicts more recent theories, which state that attentional control deteriorates in stress. Fifty-five participants undertook a Stroop task under high stress (loud white noise) and low stress conditions. Attention to the irrelevant word information was assessed by manipulating the proportion of congruent trials (e.g. the word RED in the colour red); it is known that Stroop interference increases when many such trials are presented. This effect was reduced when participants were stressed, which is evidence that stress does indeed reduce attention to irrelevant information. This pattern of results was not present in participants with low working memory spans, presumably because these participants had less attentional control. These findings highlight an important weakness in contemporary theories of cognition in stress.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s11031-009-9141-5
Uncontrolled keywords: Stroop Selective attention Stress Working memory Easterbrook’s hypothesis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: M.L. Barnoux
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2014 13:33 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/41378 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Sharma, Dinkar: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0082-1285
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