Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Morton, J. Bruce


Individual differences in cognitive control have significant implications for a broad range of everyday functions, from driving a car to maintaining healthy relationships. In a world filled with salient, task-irrelevant information, it is imperative to investigate cognitive control in the context of distraction. The current study investigated the interference effect of emotional versus non-emotional distraction in a conflict adaptation paradigm. Forty-seven young adults completed several individual difference measures and an emotional flanker task. Results failed to support the hypothesis that distractor valence would interact with prior and current flanker congruency, but showed a trend toward an effect of distractor valence on conflict adaptation. Comparison of high- and low-reappraisers showed that greater emotion regulation ability may attenuate the interference effects of emotional distractors. The current study suggests that previous findings of a distractor valence effect may be contaminated by important differences in emotional and non-emotional image content.