2001-2002 Erlbaum Winner Abstract
Processing Emotion Words and Emotional Expressions
First-Place Erlbaum Award Winner (Undergraduate)
Faculty Sponsor: Michael D. Anes, PhD
Hemispheric specialization was examined in lateralized Stroop tasks. In a facial identification task, a 2 (presentation side: left or right visual field [LVF or RVF]) Yen 2 (picture emotion: happy or angry) Yen 3 (emotion of distractor word: happy, angry, or blank) factorial design was used to place in maximum conflict the right hemispheric specialization for emotional expression processing and the left hemispheric specialization for the processing of words. Faces (from Ekman & Friesen, 1976) and emotion words were briefly displayed on a monitor, and participants responded with keypresses corresponding to the picture emotion. Accuracy and RT were measured. The hypothesis that greater Stroop effects would occur with an incongruent display of facial expression in the LVF and emotion word in the RVF was supported. The second hypothesis, that females would exhibit less Stroop-like interference, was also supported. Results indicated Stroop interference and facilitation consistent with models of hemispheric specialization. These effects were moderated by visual field presentation, emotion, and sex.