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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02204

Conflict-elicited negative evaluations of neutral stimuli: Testing overt responses and stimulus-frequency differences as critical side conditions

  • 1University of Vienna, Austria

Prior research has shown that a stimulus signaling a conflict (such as an incongruent Stroop stimulus) as a prime can elicit more negative evaluations of an otherwise neutral and unrelated stimulus as a target. Yet, there are many side conditions that could at least partly be responsible for such effects like the frequencies of congruent and conflicting stimuli or overt responses to the conflicting stimuli. Here, we tested the influences of stimulus frequencies and overt responses on the strength of this priming effect. In four experiments, we demonstrate that overt responses in-between prime and target do not delete the conflict-elicited evaluation effect (Experiments 1a vs. 1b), while an overall higher frequency of conflicting trials (Experiment 2a) and an overall lower frequency of congruent trials (Experiment 3) can both abolish the priming effect. In contrast, a higher frequency of specific conflicting conditions was ineffective (Experiment 2b). Together, our results confirm that conflict is indeed the origin of the priming of negative evaluations.

Keywords: Stroop task, fluency, misattributions of affect, conflict, stimulus frequency

Received: 15 Apr 2019; Accepted: 13 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Goller, Kroiss and Ansorge. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Florian Goller, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, florian.goller@univie.ac.at