Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychological Science



First Reader/Committee Chair

Hideya Koshino


Emotional Stroop task results have been shown to be inconsistent throughout the literature due to a multitude of factors including both stimulus and population factors. There are also several theories to explain the emotional Stroop effects, including the attentional control theory (Eysenck et al., 2007). This theory states that anxiety consumes attentional and memory resources, resulting in impairment in executive functions, and thus cognitive performance is lowered. Recently, Owens et al. (2014) reported that the effects of anxiety on cognitive performance might be moderated by working memory capacity (WMC). The present study explored whether Owens et al.'s (2014) paradigm fit the Stroop data. It also explored the role that WMC had in recognition memory for emotional and neutral words. Processing efficiency during the Stroop task and anxiety was expected to show a positive relationship for High WMC and a negative relationship for Low WMC. Furthermore, memory for emotional words were expected to be better for Low WMC due to longer processing times for emotional words. The results showed that WMC did not improve the model for both the emotional Stroop and the surprise recognition memory task, thereby contradicting Owens et al.'s (2014) proposed paradigm. Furthermore, an increase of anxiety scores showed a decrease in memory for emotional words but only for Low WMC.