Conflict processing in emotional stroop paradigms
: an exploratory study

  • Maria Viana Pires Coelho (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Purpose: Conflict processing is a cognitive function essential for adaptive behavior, particularly in the context of human social interactions. Altered incongruence processing is associated with various pathologies. Thus, accurate assessment methods are imperative to comprehend this ability and develop individualized interventions. This study aimed to explore the effect of expectancy in an Emotional Stroop Paradigm to better understand incongruence processing in a close-to-reality context where expectancy is manipulated and deepen its viability as an effective way of measuring conflict processing. Method: The sample included 20 participants (9 females, 11 males), who performed a neuropsychological assessment and engaged in three versions of the paradigm. The three variants tested encompassed scenarios where (1) the face and the emotional letter label appeared simultaneously, (2) the label preceded the simultaneous appearance of the face and label, and (3) the face preceded the simultaneous appearance of the face and label. Results: The classic version of the face-word Emotional Stroop Paradigm showed identical characteristics to the previously described neurophysiological components associated with conflict. Regarding the expectancy manipulation conditions, the different types of stimulus information affected the expectancy formation and, consequently, conflict processing, leading to distinct neurophysiological signatures. On a behavioral level, no significant differences were found between hit rates for each condition. Conclusion: This study investigates the relationship between cognitive expectancy and emotional conflict processing. By manipulating expectancy, this study challenges traditional models of conflict-processing assessment, highlighting the need for a more nuanced understanding of the underlying cognitive mechanisms. These findings emphasize the potential for interventions for conflict processing training, emphasizing the importance of individualized strategies to address the diverse variations in conflict processing among individuals.
Date of Award14 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMiguel de Sá e Sousa de Castelo-Branco (Supervisor), Teresa Sousa (Co-Supervisor) & Filipa Ribeiro (Co-Supervisor)


  • Conflict processing
  • Cognitive control
  • Emotional Stroop Paradigm
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Event-related potentials


  • Mestrado em Neuropsicologia

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