Responsverschillen op bedreigende woorden en afbeeldingen
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By means of experiments Van den Eerenbeemt (2001) and Hell (2003) investigated reaction times to supraliminally administered threatening and neutral pictures and words. They observed that reaction times were slower in response to threatening pictures as opposed to neutral pictures and faster in response to threatening words as opposed to neutral words. Neither the theory Van den Eerenbeemt delivered, nor Hell’s theory could account for these results. In the current investigation the existing experiment was extended with a verbal reaction on the presented stimuli. The underlying hypothesis was that behavioral inhibition, being part of Gray’s neuropsychological model for approach avoidance learning, took place while the participants were confronted with biologically significant (negative associative) pictural stimuli. It was supposed that reaction times to these stimuli would be delayed since prior to be able to react in the most adequate way, the pictures had to be disambiguized. The unambigousness of biological significant words makes this process redundant, which will result in increased reaction times. Most of the results did not support this hypothesis. This could be due to methodological techniques as well as the fact that only an avoidance reaction, but not an approach reaction was possible in this experiment.