The interaction between emotion and executive control: Comparison between visual, auditory, and tactile modalities

Tom Fruchtman-Steinbok, Yael Salzer, Avishai Henik, Noga Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reciprocal connections between emotion and attention are vital for adaptive behaviour. Previous results demonstrated that the behavioural effects of emotional stimuli on performance are attenuated when executive control is recruited. The current research studied whether this attenuation is modality dependent. In two experiments, negative and neutral pictures were presented shortly before a visual, tactile, or auditory target in a Simon task. All three modalities demonstrated a Simon effect, a conflict adaptation effect, and an emotional interference effect. However, the interaction between picture valence and Simon congruency was found only in the visual task. Specifically, when the Simon target was visual, emotional interference was reduced during incongruent compared to congruent trials. These findings suggest that although the control-related effects observed in the Simon tasks are not modality dependent, the link between emotion and executive control is modality dependent. Presumably, this link occurs only when the emotional stimulus and the target are presented in the same modality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1661-1674
Number of pages14
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Experimental Psychology Society.


  • Emotion
  • Executive control
  • Multi-modal
  • Simon task
  • Tactile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (all)
  • Physiology (medical)


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