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Behav Res Ther. 1993 Jul;31(6):559-67.

Effects of anxiety and awareness on colour-identification latencies for emotional words.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, England, U.K.


A modified Stroop task was used to examine the interference effects of subliminal and supraliminal emotional words on the colour-identification latencies of high and low trait anxious subjects. The subjects were randomly allocated to either an anxiety or relaxation mood induction procedure (MIP) before the modified Stroop task. Increased trait anxiety was associated with relatively greater interference in colour-identification latencies for subliminal threat stimuli. Reduced state anxiety was associated with relatively more interference of subliminal positive stimuli (mood-congruent effect), but also with greater interference of supraliminal threat stimuli (mood-incongruent effect). The results suggest that mood-congruent effects may be mediated by automatic processes, whereas controlled processes may give rise to mood-incongruent effects.

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