Stroop Effect

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Stroop Effect

4/12/2011

CAL STATE FULLERTON

Abstract

This research is designed to study attention and automatic processing of the brain by replicating the Stroop effect experiments that was conducted before. The participants included 12 female and 6 male students from Cal State Fullerton. Coglab, a virtual lab, was used to conduct the experiment. On each trial they were shown a word (RED, GREEN, or BLUE) that was printed in either red, green, or blue font color the assigned task was to classify, as quickly as possible, the font color, regardless of the word name. The speed of reaction time was measured and the hypothesis is that the RT of the matching color and word would be smaller than the RT of the different word and color. The results did support the hypothesis and thus replicated the stroop effect experiment.

The Stroop Effect

All of us have certain tasks that we do so repeatedly that they become kind of automatic in a sense where full conscious effort can be significantly lowered in order to perform it. For example, driving, it is so part of our daily lives that we somehow drive effortlessly. The process of making something automatic is interesting because it is an important part of daily life. We perform a variety of automatized behaviors quickly and effortlessly. In some cases people report that they do not consciously know how the behavior is performed, they just will it to happen, and it does happen. To explore properties of automatized behaviors cognitive psychologists often put observers in a situation where an automatized response is in conflict with the desired behavior. This allows researchers to test the behind-the-scenes properties of automatized behaviors by noting their influence on more easily measured behaviors. This demonstration explores a well-known example of this type of influence, the Stroop effect. Stroop (1935) said that observers were slower to properly identify the color of ink when the ink was used to produce color names different from the ink. That is, observers were slower to identify red ink when it spelled the word blue. This is an interesting finding because observers are told to not pay any attention to the word names and simply report the color of the ink. However, this seems to be a nearly impossible task, as the name of the word seems to interfere with the observer's ability to report the color of the ink. A common explanation for the Stroop effect is that observers have made the process of reading automatic. Thus, the color names of the words are always processed very quickly, regardless of the color of the ink. On the other hand, identifying colors is not a task that observers have to report on very often, and because it is not automatized it is slower. The fast and automatic processing of the color name of the word interferes with the reporting of the ink color. The Stroop task, and its many variations, is a commonly used tool in cognitive psychology to explore how different types of behaviors interact.

Method

Participants

The subjects who participated in this experiment were students from California State University who are all in Sensation and Perception Lab class and Psychology majors. They consist of 12 females and 6. Global data from 47513 participants but no extra demographic information was supplied.

Materials

A computer, Internet access and access to Wadsworth’s CogLab were necessary for each participant. Prior to logging in, detailed instructions were written for participants. Upon logging in but before starting the experiment, abbreviated instructions were written out for participants. A keyboard was used to execute responses.

Procedure

Participants were in a classroom and were conducting the experiment online via Coglab, an online virtual lab. The instructions informed participants to...
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