Effects of taboo words on color-naming performance on a Stroop test

Department of Social Psychology, University of Zürich, Switzerland.
Perceptual and Motor Skills (Impact Factor: 0.66). 01/1996; 81(3 Pt 2):1119-22. DOI: 10.2466/pms.1995.81.3f.1119
Source: PubMed


The effect of irrelevant taboo and control words on performance on the Stroop task was examined. The mean response time for taboo words was higher than that for control words. Single stimulus presentation made it possible to estimate internal consistency for interference of taboo words, which was acceptable (Cronbach alpha = .80).

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    • "Running Head: Taboo interference in picture naming 9 suggested an attention capture account might be a better explanation for taboo effects in spoken word production than a self-monitoring account, as previous studies had reported elevated emotional Stroop colour-naming latencies, although not error rates, when taboo words were compared with neutral items (e.g., MacKay et al., 2004; Siegrist, 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, it has been demonstrated that speakers respond more slowly when naming pictures presented with taboo (i.e., offensive/embarrassing) than neutral distractor words in the picture-word interference paradigm (Dhooge & Hartsuiker, 2011). Over four experiments, we attempted to localise the processing stage at which this effect occurs during word production and determine whether it reflects the socially offensive/embarrassing nature of the stimuli. Experiment 1 demonstrated taboo interference at early stimulus onset asynchronies of -150 ms and 0 ms although not at 150 ms. In Experiment 2, taboo distractors sharing initial phonemes with target picture names eliminated the interference effect. Using additive factors logic, Experiment 3 demonstrated that taboo interference and phonological facilitation effects do not interact, indicating the two effects originate at different processing levels within the speech production system. In Experiment 4, interference was observed for masked taboo distractors, including those sharing initial phonemes with the target picture names, indicating the effect cannot be attributed to a processing level involving responses in an output buffer. In two of the four experiments, the magnitude of the interference effect correlated significantly with arousal ratings of the taboo words. However, no significant correlations were found for either offensiveness or valence ratings. These findings are consistent with a locus for the taboo interference effect prior to the processing stage responsible for word form encoding. We propose a pre-lexical account in which taboo distractors capture attention at the expense of target picture processing due to their high arousal levels.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)
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    • "Alternatively, Young and Cordes (2013) have argued that numerical estimations may be influenced by attentional focusing, resulting in heightened attention to arousing stimuli and coincident failure to encode each enumerable element within a visual display, thus resulting in numerical underestimation. Importantly, similar attention-based claims have been made for cognitive abilities in response to emotional stimuli in domains including visual search (Öhman and Esteves, 2001; Öhman et al., 2001), memory (MacKay and Ahmetzanov, 2005), Stroop color-naming (Siegrist, 1995; Williams et al., 1996), and others. Future studies should thus aim to tease apart potential effects of arousal vs. attention in both temporal and numerical estimation tasks, to better determine whether data truly support a common system of generalized magnitude processing. "
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    ABSTRACT: Both time and numerosity can be represented continuously as analog properties whose discrimination conforms to Weber's Law, suggesting that the two properties may be represented similarly. Recent research suggests that the representation of time is influenced by the presence of emotional stimuli. If time and numerosity share a common cognitive representation, it follows that a similar relationship may exist between emotional stimuli and the representation of numerosity. Here, we provide evidence that emotional stimuli significantly affect humans' estimation of visual numerosity. During a numerical bisection task, enumeration of emotional stimuli (angry faces) was more accurate compared to enumeration of neutrally valenced stimuli (neutral faces), demonstrating that emotional stimuli affect humans' visual representation of numerosity as previously demonstrated for time. These results inform and broaden our understanding of the effect of negative emotional stimuli on psychophysical discriminations of quantity.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    • "The SLIP-task findings suggest that taboo sequences were internally formulated, detected, and corrected, a process that resulted in slowed responses. These slowed responses are mirrored by slowed responses in a taboo Stroop task (e.g., MacKay et al., 2004; Siegrist, 1995). In the Stroop task, participants name the color in which a word is written. "
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    ABSTRACT: Even in the presence of irrelevant stimuli, word production is a highly accurate and fluent process. But how do speakers prevent themselves from naming the wrong things? One possibility is that an attentional system inhibits task-irrelevant representations. Alternatively, a verbal self-monitoring system might check speech for accuracy and remove errors stemming from irrelevant information. Because self-monitoring is sensitive to social appropriateness, taboo errors should be intercepted more than neutral errors are. To prevent embarrassment, speakers might also speak more slowly when confronted with taboo distractors. Our results from two experiments are consistent with the self-monitoring account: Examining picture-naming speed (Experiment 1) and accuracy (Experiment 2), we found fewer naming errors but longer picture-naming latencies for pictures presented with taboo distractors than for pictures presented with neutral distractors. These results suggest that when intrusions of irrelevant words are highly undesirable, speakers do not simply inhibit these words: Rather, the language-production system adjusts itself to the context and filters out the undesirable words.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Psychological Science
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