Our brain often has difficulty when it must deal with sets of conflicting information. This is known as The Stroop Effect. I just recently learned about The Stroop Effect during a meeting with a local pain psychologist, Dr. Bruce Sorkin. We were discussing how we can get interference with completion of a task caused by one area of the brain dominating and inhibiting the response of other areas. Stroop effects cannot be reduced by training but it is suspected that hypnosis, can totally eliminate it. This is because of an effect that relaxation (into trance) can have on the anterior cingulate cortex, which normally functions as a monitor for conflicting information and resolution.
Research has indicated that there is a generalized slowing and specificity of Stroop interference in patients with post-traumatic stress disorders and pain. They have delays in cognitive processing of words associated with accident and pain. There has also been research over the past few years indicating that pain coping skills, such as relxation exercises, are effective in reducing pain in individuals who hurt. Maybe this result is related to inhibiting The Stroop Effect?
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