You are on page 1of 3

Andy Campbell 10/10/13 AP Psych Period 1 The Significance of the Stroop Effect Our group will be exploring the Stroop

effect and how it can affect reading comprehension. The Stroop Effect, named after John Ridley Stroop, is a demonstration of the reaction time of a task and is often used to show the difference between automatic processing and conscious visual control. It was first published in 1935 along with the results of an experiment in which participants had to identify the text color of the name of a color. The results showed that most people had no trouble identifying the color of words not relating to color, but difficulty identifying the color of the name of a color (MacLeod 1-3).

When we look at the words in the test, we process the color and meaning of each word. If both color and meaning are the same, we can respond rapidly to with the correct answer. However, if there is a conflict between color and meaning, then the stimuli are not compatible; we must make a decision and pay more attention to one stimulus than the other one. Since human experience has taught us to value the meaning of words more than the color they are written in, we naturally want to say the meaning of the word instead of its color. When we are told to do the opposite of what seems natural, we must consciously alter our answers. This leads to a much slower reaction time. As this is a process one is usually unfamiliar with, it can be difficult.

The interference provides scientists with a measurable means to investigate how the brain works. By manipulating the stimuli used for the test in various ways, you can find out what types of thinking tasks interfere with other thinking tasks. Since seeing a

"What Conflicting Mental Tasks Reveal About Thinking.") To explain why this occurs. or because evolution has taught humans to analyze the meaning of a word without consciousness. The difficulty of removing the interference effect of the Stroop task has led some researchers to claim that the brain has evolved to recognize words without effort. It requires more effort than reading. there are a few well-supported theories. thus creating interference in the Stroop task. (Olson. people see the meaning of words without much effort. naming colors is not automatic. in a situation of conflicting stimuli between words and colors. Another theory. suggests that word processing is much faster than color processing.word. though not as much. The main question is whether the Stroop effect is caused because of differences in speed of stimuli arriving in the brain. which cannot be switched off. It is resistant to practice. According to the Rochester institute of Technology. This explanation is called the "automatic word recognition hypothesis" and it is widely accepted. . though not as much as the first. reading is an automatic process. when the task is to report the word. when the task is to report the color. On the other hand. and putting the color you see into words. the Stroop effect extends to color-related words like sky or strawberry. a decision can be made before the conflicting color information arrives. the "Speed of Processing" hypothesis. one general finding is that the Stroop effect is very robust. So. uses the same part of the brain the two processes can interfere with each other. Thus. the word information arrives at the decision process stage earlier than the color information and results in processing confusion. because the color information lags behind the word information. On the other hand. For example. This theory is also widely-accepted. According to this theory.

" Science Buddies.org/science-fairprojects/project_ideas/HumBeh_p027.d. Colin M. 10 Oct. MacLeod. 10 Oct. Web. Web." College of Liberal Arts. 2013. 2013. n. <http://www. .html>.d. 10 Oct. Rochester Institute of Technology.pdf>. Olson. Rockspace Publishing." Graz University.shtml#background>. "Half a Century of Research on the Stroop Effect: An Integrative Review. KARL-FRANZENS.edu/cla/gssp400/sbackground. n. Andrew. "What Conflicting Mental Tasks Reveal About Thinking. n. <http://www.sciencebuddies.uni-graz. 2013.at/dips/freudenthaler/unt/Stroop_MacLeod. Web.d.Bibliography "Background on the Stroop Effect. Ph.rit.d. <http://www.