Attention, spatial integration, and the tail of response time distributions in Stroop task performance
SourceThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1, (2012), pp. 135-150
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Psycholinguistics
A few studies have examined selective attention in Stroop task performance through ex-Gaussian analyses of response time (RT) distributions. It has remained unclear whether the tail of the RT distribution in vocal responding reflects spatial integration of relevant and irrelevant attributes, as suggested by Spieler, Balota, and Faust (200027. Spieler , D. H. , Balota , D. A. and Faust , M. E. 2000 . Levels of selective attention revealed through analyses of reaction time distributions . Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance , 26 : 506 – 526 . [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA] View all references). Here, two colour–word Stroop experiments with vocal responding are reported in which the spatial relation between colour and word was manipulated. Participants named colours (e.g., green; say “green”) while trying to ignore distractors that were incongruent or congruent words (e.g., red or green), or neutral series of Xs. The vocal RT was measured. Colour words in colour, white words superimposed onto colour rectangles (Experiment 1), and colour rectangles combined with auditory words (Experiment 2) yielded Stroop effects in both the leading edge and the tail of the RT distributions. These results indicate that spatial integration is not necessary for effects in the tail to occur in vocal responding. It is argued that the findings are compatible with an association of the tail effects with task conflict.
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