Experimental Psychology Stroop Effect

Topics: Color, Stroop effect, Red Pages: 7 (2256 words) Published: October 5, 2012

Racing Hoses and the Stroop Effect
Milana Istakhorova
Brooklyn College – CUNY
Fall 2011.


The research assessed in this article discusses the Stroop effect. The Stroop effect occurs when our selective attention fails and we are unable to attend to some information and ignore the rest. This study tests the Stroop effect by presenting the participant with a congruent or incongruent word and the participant is asked to type the color of the word or the actual word in a series of trials. In this research, it has been found that participants had faster reaction times for congruent items and slower reaction times for incongruent items. In addition, participants had faster reaction times when asked to type the word and slower reaction times when asked to type the color.

Racing Horses and the Stroop Effect
We have the ability to attend to the things we’re looking for; however, sometimes this ability of selective attention becomes compromised. Where’s Waldo is a game that tests one’s ability to selectively attend to a stimuli; you must find Waldo in an overly crowded picture that attempts to hide him. If one’s selective attention becomes compromised, one would either not be able to locate Waldo or would take a long amount of time to locate Waldo. We can study this phenomenon of selective attention via the Stroop effect.

According to J.R Stroop, “it takes more time to name colors than to read color names (1935).” In addition, it is faster to name the color for congruent items than incongruent items. Congruent items include items such the word “red” in the color red; incongruent items include items such as the word “blue” in red ink. In a basic Stroop experiment, participants are provided with a list of congruent words and a list of incongruent words and are asked to name the color of the word or the actual word itself. Having a big Stroop effect indicates that one’s selective attention has failed. In Stroop’s original version of the experiment, results demonstrated that when participants were asked to name the color of the ink of an incongruent item, there was an increase in ink naming time. However, when the participants were asked to name the word, incongruence of the ink to the word did not have an effect on the amount of time it took to read it (Dunbar & MacLeod, 1984).

In Kevin Dunbar & Colin M. MacLeod’s paper, they refer to what is known as the horse race model (1984). This horse race model attempts to explain the Stroop phenomenon as a race between two responses. The first response, which always seems to win the race, is the response to the word; the second response is the one to the color of the ink. The horse race model states that color naming is slower than word naming because words and colors have different processing times; when the faster process finishes, it’s result can interfere with the slower process. “The simplest hypothesis, consistent with all the evidence, is that the interference occurs after naming (Morton & Chambers, 1973).” Words interfere strongly with color naming; in an incongruent trial, one identifies the word first, the identification of color of the word only comes later and there is a need to overcome the incorrect response, which causes a slight delay in response time. The purpose of this experiment is to further test the horse race model of the Stroop effect.

In this experiment, the two independent variables are congruency, whether the items are congruent or incongruent, and task, participants will be asked to name the color of the item or the word. Results will be measured by how long it takes participants to respond in each condition. There are several predictions made about this replication of the Stroop experiment: firstly, we predict that there will be a main effect of congruency; we expect an overall Stroop effect. Secondly, we predict that there will be a main effect of task; we expect that participants...
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