Date

2015

Major

Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Janice Steirn

Abstract

The purpose of experiment one was to test the effects of drink consumed (glucose, artificial sweetener, or water) and stimuli (food or non-food) on cognitive conflict. Glucose has been known to better cognitive functioning, and preoccupation with food worsens cognitive functioning on a food-related task. We hypothesized that participants who received glucose and non-food stimuli will perform best on the cognitive tests, and participants who received aspartame and food-stimuli will perform worst on the cognitive tests. Participants were each given an 8 oz. drink to consume, shown six minutes of stimuli, performed an “X-word” Stroop test, shown six more minutes of stimuli, and finally, performed a “Food-word” Stroop test. There was a significant effect of stimulus shown on reaction time. The purpose of experiment two was to test the effects of stimuli, emotionally positive or negative, on cognitive conflict. The lateral prefrontal cortex shows a crossover between emotion and cognition, predicting behavioral performance. We hypothesized that participants who are shown positive emotion-evoking pictures will have a larger Stroop effect on a “Positive-word” Stroop and participants who are shown negative emotion-evoking pictures will have a larger Stroop effect on a “Negative-word” Stroop. Participants were shown four minutes of assigned stimuli, given a basic “X-word” Stroop test, shown four more minutes of stimuli, given either a “Positive-word” or “Negative-word” Stroop test, shown four more minutes of stimuli, and given the final Stroop test they had not yet taken. No significant results regarding a difference between positive and negative stimuli were found.

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