Stroop Keeps Us in the Loop on Bad Moods


            A study on negative moods was done to find out what effect repeated exposure of negative ideas has on future exposures to negative ideas. For the experiment, subjects were shown a series of words in varying colors. This kind of study is called the Stroop task. This is one of the foremost techniques used when studying "how two rivaling stimuli interfere with an individual's reaction time." Words charged emotionally with negative ideas took a longer time for patients to identify the color of initially.

            The study found that when the same word came up twice, the Stroop effect--reaction time to identify the word--was a lot shorter the second time around. This discovery is evidence pointing toward the idea that exposing yourself to negative ideas early in the day may be a way to reduce negative feelings throughout the rest of the day. One of the researchers says "If you look at the newspaper before you go to work and see a headline about a bombing or tragedy of some kind, it's better to read the article all the way through and repeatedly expose yourself to the negative information."

            While this is very good information to have, I'm not quite sure how I feel about the statement this is making in regards to someone with depression. Sometimes someone is just in a bad mood. It's not brought on due to exposure to negative stimuli or anything of the like. It doesn't seem like this method would help combat those "bad moods," while the researchers and the article seem to be making a blanket statement about all negative feelings.

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