The project focuses on physiological reactions during the Word Association Test (WAT). The author tests the originally proposed hypothesis (Slechta, 2002b) about separable cognitive and emotional workload, where the cognitive workload is manifested in reaction times (RT) and the emotional workload in physiological reactions (i.e., electro dermal activity). The hypotheses were tested on a sample of young healthy adults (N = 80), with a protocol consisting of 40 Czech nouns. The stimuli varied in their level of concreteness and their emotional valence. During the experiment RTs, electro dermal activity (EDA) and pupillary responses (PR) were measured. It was found that the correlations of all observed parameters were low. In agreement with the original hypotheses it was found that the cognitive workload is manifested most in RTs, and negative stimuli elicit the highest EDA reactions, but these two effects could not be separated. In fact the cognitive workload was manifested significantly in the physiological parameters as well. Therefore in possible clinical applications, where emotional reactions are of interest, it is necessary to take the possible cognitive workload into account in preparing the stimuli protocol.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.