Wheel chairs and arm chairs: A novel experimental design for the emotional Stroop effect

Daniel Algom*, Dan Zakay, Ofer Monar, Eran Chajut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The emotional Stroop effect demonstrates that people are slower to name the ink colour of emotionally charged words than that of neutral words. Attributing this slowdown to emotionality or threat requires that the emotion and neutral words presented are equal on all extraneous variables. However, it is impossible in principle to match the two types of words on all conceivable variables. To address the problem, we presented the same set of words, polarised to be negative in one condition and neutral in another by using appropriate prime words that produced the desired valence through idiomatic two-word expressions. Across two studies, participants took longer to name the colour of the same words when they were rendered negative than when they were rendered neutral. This difference reflects a true emotional Stroop effect given the control provided for all potentially confounding variables tied to the target stimuli. The new procedure also enables researchers to calculate item-specific emotional Stroop effects for the first time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1552-1564
Number of pages13
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009


FundersFunder number
Tel-Aviv University Research Authority
Israel Science FoundationISF221·07


    • Emotion stimulus control
    • Emotional and classic Stroop effects
    • Valence


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