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Behavioural measures of interference and facilitation in an audiovisual colour-word Stroop matching task Bornstein, Ido Shlomo


Previous audiovisual Stroop studies used spoken colour-words mainly as ignored distractors when performing the visual Stroop task. Previous matching Stroop studies in the visual domain provided opposing views regarding whether interference effects resulted from conflicting semantic representations or conflicting responses. This study’s main objective was to explore how a written word distractor affects audiovisual matching of a spoken colour-word and font colour. I presented colour-words written in congruent or incongruent font colours simultaneously with spoken colour-words. Participants pressed buttons to indicate whether the spoken word and font colour were “same” or “different”, while ignoring written word meaning. I recorded response times and accuracy to measure interference and facilitation effects between experimental and control conditions. I hypothesised that incongruent written words (e.g., red) would interfere with “same” responses (e.g., font colour = blue, spoken word = /blue/) but facilitate “different” responses (e.g., font colour = green, spoken word = /blue/); and that congruent written words (e.g., red) would facilitate “same” responses (e.g., font colour = red, spoken word = /red/) but interfere with “different” responses (e.g., font colour = red, spoken word = /blue/, or font colour = blue, spoken word = /red/). The results showed large interference effects but no facilitation effects on audiovisual judgements. While incongruent written words interfered with “same” responses, congruent written words interfered with “different” responses. The largest interference effect occurred when the written word was incongruent with both task-relevant dimensions, while smaller effects occurred when the written word was congruent with either task-relevant dimension. Consistent with previous Stroop findings, my audiovisual matching task showed that in the case of cross-modal colour judgements, written word meaning predominantly interferes with but does not facilitate performance. The pattern of results showed that a conflict between the outcome of the relevant matching task and the outcomes of two mistakenly performed matching tasks involving the written word produced interference effects, rather than a conflict among the semantic representations activated by the three stimulus dimensions.

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