Ego Depletion in Color Priming Research: Self-Control Strength Moderates the Detrimental Effect of Red on Cognitive Test Performance

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Colors have been found to affect psychological functioning. Empirical evidence suggests that, in test situations, brief perceptions of the color red or even the word “red” printed in black ink prime implicit anxious responses and consequently impair cognitive performance. However, we propose that this red effect depends on people’s momentary capacity to exert control over their prepotent responses (i.e., self-control). In three experiments (Ns = 66, 78, and 130), first participants’ self-control strength was manipulated. Participants were then primed with the color or word red versus gray prior to completing an arithmetic test or an intelligence test. As expected, self-control strength moderated the red effect. While red had a detrimental effect on performance of participants with depleted self-control strength (ego depletion), it did not affect performance of participants with intact self-control strength. We discuss implications of the present findings within the current debate on the robustness of priming results.
OriginalspracheEnglisch
ZeitschriftPERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN
Jahrgang41
Heft3
Seiten (von - bis)311-322
Seitenumfang10
ISSN0146-1672
DOIs
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2015

ID: 710434

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