This experiment was in a subject design as the same group of participants was tested under the same conditions; the independent variable which was manipulated was the presentation of distractor words which were either threat, neutral or none type/ condition. The threat and neutral distractor condition differed on valence while the no distractor condition had a longer pause between words on the list. The dependent variables that were measured were the proportions of words recognition (Yes/ No response), proportions of critical lure words (never presented) recognition, proportions of list words (presented words) recognition, proportions of new words (never presented unrelated words) recognition and proportion of distractors (threat and neutral)recognition.
Participants were given directions that instructed them on how to complete the experiment; they were given any information about the purpose of this experiment. In order to start the initial phase of the experiment, participants were asked to click on the "Next Trial‟ button that was shown on the computer screen. Once participants hit the "Next Trial‟ button, nine lists, contained either 12 words for the non-distractor condition or 13 words for the neutral and threat distractor condition, were presented on the screen for few seconds; the non- distractor condition had longer pause between words on the list. The words in all the lists were semanticallyassociated with one another and each word was also associated with a critical non presented word or lure word.These lists are called the Deese- Roediger- McDermott (DRM) lists.
All the participants saw the same lists but the order of these lists were randomized to avoid any participant copying each other responses. The 9 lists were organized into blocks of 3 lists (none, threat, neutral). When each list had been presented, Participants were given a number and asked to count by 7 backward for this specific number for approximately 2 minutes to prevent rehearsal of the studied items on the working memory.