Influence of cognitive load on the expression of the emotional stroop effect

T. Kutsenko
Influence of cognitive load on the expression of the emotional stroop effect


The Emotional Stroop Effect (ESE) is the result of a greater delay in naming colors of written emotional words than colors of written neutral
words, because of shifting attention to emotionally meaningful information. ESE is mainly used in psychopathology surveys, but its application is also promising for solving applied psychophysiological problems, from professional screening and neuromarketing to detecting lies and detecting threats from emotionally unstable individuals. Because the ESE is sensitive to testing conditions, various modifications to the Emotional Stroop Test (EST) have been investigated. Within the subtests, neutral and emotional (negatively coloured) words were presented. The inclusion of distractors in subtests (target words, names of plants and animals that were not required to be answered by keystrokes) complicates the task, which manifests itself in a considerable extension of the reaction time. When performing a task with significant cognitive load, the left hand responds to emotional stimuli longer than the right. The results obtained may indicate the formation of a special system for processing emotional information in the right hemisphere, while the left hemisphere focuses on the cognitive task. It is likely that in the case of increased cognitive load, the subsystems for processing emotional and cognitive information operate relatively autonomously, inter-hemispheric interaction is enhanced, and functional asymmetry is reduced. As cognitive pressure decreases, functional asymmetry is likely to increase inter-hemispheric interaction, and ESE is not detected. The obtained values of latent periods of reaction to emotionally significant and neutral stimuli can be used to develop scales and criteria for evaluating a person's emotional reactions when it is needed.


emotional Stroop effect, latent periods of reaction, hemispheric asymmetry, metacontrol

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Received: 20.01.2020

Revised: 21.02.2020

Signed for the press: 21.02.2020



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