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Stroop interference: A comparison of dental phobia Stroop tests

Ries, Barry J.
The current investigation assessed group differences in modified Stroop color naming tests between patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of specific dental phobia (n = 18) and their matched controls (n = 18). Control participants did not have DSM-IV axis I or II diagnoses, and were matched to patients on the variables of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sex. All participants were presented with a standardized dental Stroop test, and an idiographic dental Stroop test, in which they were allowed to select their personally relevant dental fear stimuli. The two dental Stroop tests were each presented in two different formats. In the full screen presentation format, 100 words were displayed simultaneously on a computer monitor in five col limns. When the 100 stimuli were presented in the single word format, each word was presented singly on the computer monitor. As expected on the full screen presentation format, patients with specific dental phobia demonstrated greater cognitive interference across the standardized and the idiographic dental Stroop tests than their matched counterparts. Both groups also demonstrated greater cognitive interference on the idiographic dental Stroop test than on the standardized dental Stroop test. Results of the single word presentation format replicated the significant differences between the specific dental phobia group and their matched controls. No differences, however, were noted between the idiographic dental Stroop test and the standardized dental Stroop test in the single word presentation format. Findings are discussed in relation to the current Stroop test literature, as well as possible theoretical explanations for differences between the full screen and single word presentation format.