Report on the Effect of the Stroop Test

Topics: John Ridley Stroop, Stroop effect, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! Pages: 8 (2232 words) Published: December 10, 2011

‘Testing the competence of the Stroop test when taken by undergraduate students with pairs of words and colours that are congruous, incongruous and semantic.’


This experiment was conducted using a semantic variation in addition to the original Stroop test to determine the difference in reaction times when applied to congruent, incongruent and semantic words and colours. The experiment was conducted with a sample of 20 (17 female, 3 male) junior freshman psychology students (Mean age = 19.47 Age Range = 17- 24), sampled by convenience in a within- group format. The experiment was conducted in a mandatory lab so there were no rewards offered. In order to counterbalance the results, the computer program ‘Superlab 4’ distributed the trials randomly. It was hypothesized that the incongruous trials would take a longer time to react to than semantic and congruous trials. The hypothesis was supported with results showing considerable differences in reaction times.


Introduction Page 4

Method Page 6

Results Page 8

Discussion Page 10

Appendices Page 12

References Page 13


Beginning at our enrolment in pre-school in which we learn the letters of the alphabet, we continuously develop our reading abilities throughout our education. As we become older, we begin to ignore the fundamental steps of the reading process and in fact make out words without actively paying attention to them. In 1935, American psychologist John Ridley Stroop confirmed this. (1) He found that people experience considerable difficulty in naming the colour in which a word is printed, when the word itself spells out a conflicting colour. (e.g. the word GREEN printed in yellow). The reason this test has fascinated psychologists over the years is that it appears to tap into basic operations of cognition, giving a profound insight into the fundamental workings of the cognitive system. Two theories have been put forward to explain this phenomenon: 1.) The ‘speed of processing theory’, which suggests that the brain is able to process a word much faster than it can a colour. 2.) The ‘selective attention theory’ proposes that the difficulty takes place because naming a colour requires more effort than reading a word. Since Stroop first published his findings, his experiment has undergone a series of further studies by various psychologist; the general result of which has shown the Stroop Effect to be very robust. The original study conducted by Stroop solely examined the difference in reaction times between congruent and incongruent words and colours. Throughout further testing, the general context of the words began to interest experimenters. In Stroop’s original experiment, the control was a congruous word (a word corresponding to its colour). The flaw in this however could have been that participants copped on that the colours matched the words and thus just read off the words rather than interpreting the colours. As previously stated, the Stroop test has been proven to withstand vigorous testing. It has shown to be applicable to non-words that sound like colours (e.g. bloo) as well as being immune to practice. In 1975, Gillian Cohen and Maryanne Martin even conducted an auditory stroop test with high and low...
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