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Self-related primes reduce congruency effects in the Stroop task.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General  (IF5.498),  Pub Date : 2022-05-23, DOI: 10.1037/xge0001210
David Dignath,Andreas B Eder,Cornelia Herbert,Andrea Kiesel

Theoretical accounts of self-representation assume a privileged role for information that is linked to the self and suggest that self-relevant stimuli capture attention in a seemingly obligatory manner. However, attention is not only biased toward self-relevant information, but self-relevant information might also tune attention more broadly, for instance, by engaging cognitive control processes that regulate allocation of attention. Indeed, research in social, clinical, and developmental sciences predicts a close link between a cognitive representation of the self and cognitive control processes. The present research is concerned with such a possible signaling function of the self to recruit cognitive control and tested predictions that follow from this view using the well-known Stroop task. Participants identified the print color of words. Self-reference was manipulated such that a prime was presented before or together with a Stroop word that comprised of either a possessive pronoun (e.g., "my green") or a definite/indefinite article as control (e.g., "the/a green"). Results of three experiments (Ntotal = 137) showed that self-reference priming reduced the congruency effect in the Stroop task relative to control conditions. This finding is incompatible with an attentional bias account assuming that self-relevant distractors always impair performance, but rather suggests that stimuli relevant to the self can facilitate cognitive control processes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).