The role of Stroop processes in the emotional Stroop effect was subjected to a conceptual scrutiny augmented by a series of experiments entailing reading or lexical decision as well as color naming. The analysis showed that the Stroop effect is not defined in the emotional Stroop task. The experiments showed that reading, lexical decision, and color naming all are slower with emotional words and that this delay is immune to task-irrelevant variation and to changes in the relative salience of the words and the colors. The delay was absent when emotional and neutral words appeared in a single block. A threat-driven generic slowdown is implicated, not a selective attention mechanism associated with the classic Stroop effect.