The Stroop Effect
University of Houston – Downtown
The Stroop Effect
The Stroop Effect is a psychological effect that was first wrote about in 1935 by a psychologist of the same name, John Ridley Stroop. In this experiment, John Stroop studied and compared subjects reading a list of words that were printed in black and had the same group of subjects read the same list of words in incongruent colors. Stroop didn’t find very much difference in the reading time of this list until he had groups of subjects name colors for a list of solid color squares then have the group the colors for a list of words printed in congruent colors. Stroop identified a large increase in the time taken by studies to complete the color reading in the second task compared to the naming of the color of the squares in experiment 2 while this delay did not appear in the first experiment.
The purpose of the Stroop Effect is to study the “Speed of Processing” and the “automatic word recognition” hypothesis. The “automatic word recognition” hypothesis states that the brain is wired to recognize words without effort. According to this hypothesis, reading comes automatically without thought and can not be turned off. Naming colors is not an automatic process. It takes more effort than reading. The “Speed of Processing” hypothesis states that word processing is much faster than color processing. When the task is to report the color, the word information arrives at the decision process stage earlier than the color information and results in processing confusion. For example, if someone asked you to say the color of the word "Red" that was also printed in blank ink, it would be much easier to say the correct color than if it were printed in green ink. Automatic processes are fast, do not require attention for their execution, and therefore can occur involuntarily. In contrast, controlled processes are...