Viewing images of snakes accelerates making judgements of their colour in humans: Red snake effect as an instance of ‘emotional Stroop facilitation’

Masahiro Shibasaki, Tomoko Isomura, Nobuo Masataka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most prevalent current psychobiological notions about human behaviour and emotion suggests that prioritization of threatening stimuli processing induces deleterious effects on task performance. In order to confirm its relevancy, 108 adults and 25 children were required to name the colour of images of snakes and flowers, using the pictorial emotional Stroop paradigm. When reaction time to answer the colour of each stimulus was measured, its value was found to decrease when snake images were presented when compared with when flower images were presented. Thus, contrary to the expectation from previous emotional Stroop paradigm research, emotions evoked by viewing images of snakes as a biologically relevant threatening stimulus were found to be likely to exert a facilitating rather than interfering effect on making judgements of their colour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140066
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Colour perception
  • Emotional Stroop interference
  • Enhancement of perception
  • Pictorial Stroop paradigm
  • Snake fear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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