Selective inhibition and naming performance in semantic blocking, picture-word interference, and color-word Stroop tasks.

Zeshu Shao, Ardi Roelofs, Randi C. Martin, Antje Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2 studies, we examined whether explicit distractors are necessary and sufficient to evoke selective inhibition in 3 naming tasks: the semantic blocking, picture–word interference, and color–word Stroop task. Delta plots were used to quantify the size of the interference effects as a function of reaction time (RT). Selective inhibition was operationalized as the decrease in the size of the interference effect as a function of naming RT. For all naming tasks, mean naming RTs were significantly longer in the interference condition than in the control condition. The slopes of the interference effects for the longest naming RTs correlated with the magnitude of the mean interference effect in both the semantic blocking task and the picture–word interference task, suggesting that selective inhibition was involved to reduce the interference from strong semantic competitors either invoked by a single explicit competitor or strong implicit competitors in picture naming. However, there was no correlation between the slopes and the mean interference effect in the Stroop task, suggesting less importance of selective inhibition in this task despite explicit distractors. Whereas the results of the semantic blocking task suggest that an explicit distractor is not necessary for triggering inhibition, the results of the Stroop task suggest that such a distractor is not sufficient for evoking inhibition either.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1806-1820
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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