2004-05 Erlbaum Winners' Abstracts
Mere Exposure Increases Confidence in Counterfactual Life Events
Dianne M. Learned, Kent State University (OH)
First Place Erlbaum Winner (Graduate)
Faculty Sponsor: Maria Zaragoza, PhD
Imagining counterfactual childhood events has been shown to increase participants' confidence that the events actually occurred (Garry, Manning, Loftus, & Sherman, 1996; Heaps & Nash, 1999; Mazzoni & Memon, 2003; Pezdek, Finger, & Hodge, 1997; Pezdek & Hodge, 1999), a phenomenon known as "imagination inflation." The present study assessed whether merely exposing participants to counterfactual childhood events would also lead to a confidence inflation. Participants were either asked to imagine counterfactual childhood events (Imagination group) or were exposed to the events by watching the events acted out by children in film clips (Exposure group). Half of the critical events in the film clips were acted out by boy actors while the other half of the events were acted out by girl actors. Participants' confidence that the counterfactual events had actually occurred was assessed at two times: immediately after the manipulation and again two weeks later. The results of this study showed that exposing participants to counterfactual life events via film clips increased their belief that the events had occurred to them to the same extent as imagining that the events had happened to them. There was no evidence that memories for the counterfactual events developed as a result of the Imagination or Exposure manipulations.
Sex Differences in Lateralization of Stroop Interference
Haley Stapleton, George Fox University (OR)
First Place Erlbaum Winner (Undergraduate)
Faculty Sponsor: Christopher Koch, PhD
MacLeod (1991) noted 18 major findings related to the Stroop effect. Two of these findings dealt with hemispheric and sex differences. In general, past research has found no evidence for either hemispheric or sex differences on the Stroop task. The present study was conducted to examine whether or not hemispheric processing and sex interact using a color block Stroop task. Twenty-six participants completed the color block Stroop task with trials randomly presented between the right and left visual fields. The results suggest that no hemispheric differences exist with RT data but that there is significant difference between hemispheres using error rates (ER). More errors are committed when the color-block stimuli are presented in the right visual field. However, an interaction between condition and visual field suggests that interference occurs in both hemispheres. There was no effect of sex with either RT or ER. These results are consistent with recent research indicating that Stroop interference occurs in both hemispheres and that no sex differences exist. Together, these findings suggest that the color-block Stroop task is processed similarly to the color-word Stroop task. This finding is significant since interference in the color-block Stroop task is tied to the incongruent components of the stimuli instead of the semantic or word information included in the traditional color-word Stroop task.