Assignment Sample on The effect of pandemic related words on automatic attention


Anxiety is a common psychological phenomenon that humans face mostly due to its experiences with external or internal environment. There are certain situations and events that greatly affect the attention and behaviour of the humans and these may even lead to anxiety and increased attention. Therefore, the study aimed to assess the impact of pandemic related words on the attention and reaction stimuli of humans. An experiment was conducted using Stroop test to assess the difference in reaction time to stimuli between negative pandemic words used and neutral words are used. Based in the statistical assessment there is a significant difference in reaction time between pandemic and neutral words.


Humans have a higher tendency to give attention to certain events and words as they may be of high relevance to the humans and relate them towards emotional aspects (Blaut et al. 2013). “To ensure perseverance, individuals over the ages will undoubtedly suffer if they zeroed in harder on dangerous things in the environment and neglected things that didn’t address a risk (Ashley et al. 2013; Jeromin, Nyenhuis, and Barke, 2016). Individuals have reliably been in an alarming situation and experienced what is consistently suggested a selective concentration in which they became hyper-careful and seriously revolved around a specific risk; they can in all likelihood see how this tendency can be valuable (Fridrici et al. 2013; Basanovic et al. 2017). Researchers have found that highly influential and reactive environments can affect thought processes and behaviour (Adams, Attwood, and Munafò, 2014). Fretful individuals will overall presentation attentional inclination exactly on schedule during an information association, while debilitate individuals consistently show attentional tendency when lifts are presented for a broad timespan (Tobon, Ouimet, and Dozois, 2011; Cousijn et al. 2013). The assessment has shown that young people and adolescents with attentional control shortages will overall have high anxiety and show risk related explicit attentional tendency (Duschek et al. 2014). Consequently, various assessments investigated how sure and negative attentional tendencies would team up with attentional control on dispositional apprehension. For individuals with high attentional control, a higher skeptical attentional tendency is identified with lower characteristic anxiety (Ashley et al. 2013). Additionally, inspects have moreover found that trademark pressure isn’t continually related to a hostile attentional inclination for people with low attentional control. Positive attentional inclination in any case prompts a relationship with dispositional anxiety, either alone or in participation with attentional control (Suárez-Pellicioni, Núñez-Peña, and Colomé, 2015; Lardone et al. 2021).

The psychological and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are unavoidable, and there is potential for a reliable impact on enthusiastic health (Lee et al. 2013). Late examinations have shown that lone the supreme COVID-19 disquiet on the avoidance and perseveration parts were determinedly liable to influencing the attentional inclination records (Albery, Spada, and Nikčević, 2021). The generally speaking attentional tendency rundown has shown to be unequivocally related to the perspective on COVID-19 anxiety and the COVID influence on individuals, frustrating the withdrawal to attentional inclination (Cannito et al. 2020). A lot of work has shown that individuals organize their attentional resources for striking enhancements in their present condition with peril related overhauls being particularly undeniable and eye-getting. The prioritization of these resources has been named attentional inclination and is utilitarian to the extent that individuals can get ready for variety to the peril introduced (Cannito et al. 2020). There is a detachment between the basic periods of attentional apportioning in those experiencing mental difficulty. Specifically, it has been fought that anxious individuals show an illustration of caution towards a risk during brief peril taking care of and may change to an attentional model consistent with risk revultion during a later, more fundamental stage.”

To assess and probe these aspects the following research question was formed; how do pandemic related words influence automatic attention?

The hypothesis of the study is:

H0: There is no difference in reaction time to stimuli between negative pandemic words used and neutral words are used

HA: There is a significant difference in reaction time to stimuli between negative pandemic words used and neutral words are used



The current study design is based on a mixed factorial design whereby the study used two different stimulatory words were used (Suárez-Pellicioni et al. 2015). One was words related to pandemic situation like “infection”, “vaccine”, “COVID”, “fever”, and others. On the other hand, neutral words mainly comprised of words of “family”, “table”, “tree”, and others. The main aim of the study was to explore difference in reaction time to stimuli when pandemic words are used and neutral words. As per the human attention theory and psychological understanding, humans reaction to different words and situations differently, and using this experimental design the hypothesis developed for the study has been explored using quantitative methods (Scheer, 2012).


The study included a total of 64 people from the current University whereby they were recruited as part of the study curriculum. The participants of the study were included based on two criteria; one was that all the participants were above the age of 18 years and the second was that none of the participants had participated in similar studies in the past. Since, the study was conducted just before the national lockdown in the UK with the rising cases of COVID infections, the participants were provided with a monetary support of £5 for their participation and no other forms of compensation for their participation was provided. Furthermore, during the conduction of the experiment, the social distancing norms and sanitisation norms were maintained. As for the ethical standards and ethical approval since human were included was approved by the University of Roehampton ethics committee. As part of the ethical standards, the participants were well informed about the study methods and procedures and were also informed that they may leave the study if it affected them in any way. The stroop test process was clearly explained to the participants that approved the consent form as part of the ethical standards.


The study used a stroop test method whereby data collected were mainly based on demographic aspects like age and gender of the participants.  Furthermore, the time to react for the participants in reacting to words related to pandemic situation like “infection”, “vaccine”, “COVID”, “fever”, and others; and neutral words mainly comprised of words of “family”, “table”, “tree”, and others were assessed and collected in milliseconds (Suárez-Pellicioni et al. 2015). The response time had no limit and identifying the words as presented to the screen for both cases of words were recorded against each of the participants.


Initially the students from the case university were recruited by uploading a participation notification on the student mails of the case university with the help of the mentors of the curriculum. Since, the students were offered monetary support; the students were required to accept the consent form and then participate in the stroop test (Ben-Haim et al. 2016). Each of the participants was subjected to a pandemic related word and a neutral word and their reaction time to the words were recorded. In addition, the gender and age based information was also collected. The data collected from the experiment were then recorded and statistically assessed to check the difference in reaction time to stimuli when pandemic words are used and neutral words using t-test. All analyses were conducted using the statistical tool SPSS v23 (Berkman and Reise, 2011; Larson-Hall, 2015).


Based on the statistical findings for the description of the participants, the man age of the participants of the study was 27 years with a maximum age limit being 36 years and the minimum was 18 years with a SD of 5.274. The SD value is high indicating that the distribution of the age of the participants from the mean is high and unique or included from different age groups and not biased to one type of age group. As for the findings from the distribution of gender of the participants, majority of the participants were male with a distribution of 56% and female with 44%.

Table 1: Descriptive assessment

  Age Gender
Mean 27.1250 .5625
Median 28.0000 1.0000
Std. Deviation 5.27498 .50000
Minimum 18.00 .00
Maximum 36.00 1.00

Based on the descriptive assessment of the two groups using pandemic words and neutral words respectively the mean time for reaction and attention to certain stimuli were 776.6 and 692.5 miliseconds. This shows that the time taken for the participants to respond to certain stimuli was less in case of neutral words group over pandemic words group. The standard deviation in the pandemic group was also high 118.356 whereas the SD for neutral group was 116.625. Therefore, it may be implicated that there is a significant difference in the response time between the two groups and the response to words for pandemic is greater than neutral.

Table 2: Descriptive summary of the two groups

  N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
Pandemic_RT 64 776.6719 118.35675 14.79459
Neutal_RT 64 692.5469 116.62597 14.57825

Based on the t-test conducted it was found that the t value for both the groups is positive and indicating that there is a significant difference between the two groups (Kim, 2015). Furthermore, based on the p-values assessed it is less than 0.05 at 95% CI and since the p-values have been found to be .000 or less than 0.05 it may be implicated that the null hypothesis has been rejected and the alternative has been accepted. In the acceptance of the t-test it can be stated that when the p-value is less than 0.05 the null hypothesis is rejected and if the p-value is greater than 0.05 the null is accepted. Therefore, based on the t-test findings it can be stated that the hypothesis there is no difference in reaction time to stimuli when pandemic words are used and neutral words are used is rejected (Delacre, Lakens, and Leys, 2017). Henceforth, the hypothesis that there is difference in reaction time to stimuli when pandemic words are used and neutral words are used is accepted.

Table 3: T-test statistics

  Test Value = 0
t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
Pandemic_RT 52.497 63 .000 776.67188 747.1072 806.2365
Neutal_RT 47.505 63 .000 692.54688 663.4146 721.6792


Based on the statistical findings it can be implicated that a person longer to name the colour of a negative word that is the pandemic word in this case as the mean reaction time is greater than the neutral word. Therefore, there is a high possibility that the response is affected by the negative content and thereby development of emotional bias. In other words, the statistically significance differences and higher average reaction time indicates that participants pay more attention to pandemic related words over the neutral words. This is why there is difference in reaction time to stimuli when pandemic words are used and neutral words.


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