The Benefits of Automatic Inhibition
36.319, Sunday, May 12, 2:45 - 6:45 pm, Royal Ballroom 6-8
Liat Goldfarb1; 1E.J. Safra Brain Research Center, University of Haifa
People often encounter situations in which different visual inputs contradict each other and the influence of one input must be controlled and restricted . This restriction involves cognitive inhibition. Lately I have showed (Goldfarb, Aisenberg, & Henik, 2011), that the influence of automatic inhibition is much stronger than the intended inhibition. In that study we used the social priming technique to trigger automatic inhibition. Social concept priming tends to trigger automatic behavior that is in line with the primed concept, hence in that study participants were primed with the social concept dyslexia before performing the Stroop task. Because dyslectic people are perceived as having reading difficulties, we assumed that the social concept dyslexia would trigger the automatic common" do not read the word". We found that in the Stroop task in which participants need to ignore the word dimension, the Stroop effect was reduced and even failed to reach significance after the dyslectic person priming. Accordingly, the current study examined whether automatic inhibition is also available for intentional use and consequently if we can improve intentional inhibition abilities by performing automatic inhibition training. This study compared the improvement in the Stroop task as a result of different practice phases: In Exp. 1 the practice phase involved training in automatic inhibition (social priming of "dyslexia"), in Exp. 2 it involved non-automatic inhibition, and in Exp. 3 this phase involved a control - non inhibition task training. The results revealed that practicing automatic inhibition leads to the most improvement in the mental control mechanism.