Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Christopher J. Koch, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, PhD

Third Advisor

Kelly B. T. Chang, PhD


Since the 1930s, various versions of the Stroop interference task have been used to illuminate how the mind processes information. Over the past 10 years it has been applied to emotion recognition processing in increasingly complex, competing expressions. Koch (2006) used competing emotion words and faces and found the words produced interference in identifying the facial emotion, particularly when they were incongruent and the eyes were removed. Continuing the research studying how emotions are processed toward more natural situations, an emotion recognition Stroop test of simultaneous emotional facial pictures and spoken emotional words was presented in 600 randomized congruent, incongruent, or face-only trials. Data from 17 undergraduate students was analyzed. Interference effects were found from incongruence, few errors of face emotion were made, and no sex differences were significant. Happiness was most quickly identified, followed by sadness and anger; fear was the slowest. The eyes most contributed to fast face emotion identification for sadness, anger, and especially fear. Happiness was unaffected by removing eyes, removing mouth, or presenting a complete face. Several theories related to these results, limitations of this study, and future research directions were discussed.