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Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Every day planning and execution of goal-directed human performance is dependent upon cognitive and emotional processes that are inherently interlinked. However, the effect of naturalistic mood states on cognitive control remains relatively unexamined. The present study builds upon existing literature regarding affective and executive processes by investigating the relationship between naturally occurring positive mood state and interference processing during a modified Color-Word Stroop Task (CWST). To further clarify the time course and recruitment of neural resources during different conditions of the CWST the present study utilized event-related potentials (ERPs). Incongruent stimuli were compared to congruent stimuli in blocked (same congruency) and mixed (both congruent and incongruent stimuli present) conditions for behavioral (reaction time and accuracy) and electrophysiological (N200 and N450) outcomes. Classic Stroop interference was observed across blocked and mixed conditions, in that incongruent trials resulted in increased reaction time, decreased accuracy, and increased N200 amplitude. While increased N450 amplitude was observed for incongruent compared to congruent trials in the blocked condition, congruent/incongruent trials in the mixed condition were not significantly different. Positive affect (PA) moderated the relationship between diagnostic group (remitted depressed or healthy controls) and onset of N200 during blocked incongruent trials. Higher levels of PA were related to later onset N200 for the remitted depressed group and earlier N200 onset for the healthy control group on blocked incongruent trials. Findings indicate that levels of PA have a differential impact on cognitive control processes in the context of history of psychopathology and may further account for some of the differences found in existing research as both dimensional and categorical classifications of emotional functioning are not frequently examined in the same study.

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