Stroop Ia

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An experiment investigating the effects of interference on speed estimates during the Stroop task

Nicharee Thamsirisup (Nid)
IB Psychology Standard Level

Abstract:
This experiment is to investigate the effect of color interference in speed estimates of the Stroop task which was first researched by John Ridley Stroop in 1935. This can be investigated by seeing the time difference between the task of identifying colors when color words are printed in the same color as their semantic meaning (test #1) and when they are printed in different colors as their semantic meaning (test #2). The research hypothesis is that the average time will be higher in test #2 because of the interference in the color detection task. The experiment uses independent measures and opportunity sampling of bilingual students aged from 16 to 18 years old. The results supported the hypothesis since the participants who did test #2 took 8.8 seconds in average longer than participants who did test #1.

Introduction
The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of interference on speed estimates during the Stroop task. The Stroop task was first experimented by John Ridley Stroop in 1935. The Stroop Effect involving the Stroop task refers to a phenomenon in which it is easier to say the color of a word if it matches the semantic meaning of the word. Stroop (1935) began investigating the phenomenon of interference by using a color-naming task. The experiment was called ““The Effect of Interfering Color Stimuli Upon Reading Names of Colors Serially” in which he conducted on seventy college undergraduates (14 males and 56 females). In the experiment, the participants were to do two tests, one test is with a list of words printed in black and another test is with a list of words printed in colors (red, blue, green, brown and purple) different from its name (e.g. blue printed in red). The colored words were arranged so that each color would appear twice in each column and row and no color were used succeeding each other but the words were printed in equal number of times in each of the other four colors (e.g. the word ‘red’ printed in blue, green, brown and purple inks or the word ‘blue’ was printed in red, green, brown and purple inks). Participants were asked to read the words as fast as possible and correct any possible mistakes. Results show that it took the participants an average of 2.3 seconds longer to read 100 color names printed in different colors than to read the same words printed in blank1. Schneider and Shiffrin (1977)2 explained this phenomenon in terms of “automatic processing” where in the experiment of Stroop, reading skills are automatically triggered and intrude upon the intentional process of color detection task. Automatic processing occurs with very few to none conscious resources. Logan (1990)2 also stated that automatic processing can develop through practice as it will require less effort or thoughts and becomes more rapid to retrieve the appropriate responses to the stimulus. These automatic thoughts can be retrieved by accessing the ‘past solutions,’ for example, children will first use their fingers to do simple addition (e.g. 1+1=2), however, as more practice occurs, they will be immediately able to answer it just by seeing it within a second with no attention required.

Design:
The experiment used independent measures (participants only take part in one of the two tests) which reduced the practice and made it more difficult to speculate the aim of the study. In test 1, the incongruent condition, participants were asked to read a list of different words of the colors printed in different colors to their semantic meanings (e.g. the word BLUE printed in green ink). In test 2, the congruent condition, participants were asked to read a list f different words of the colors printed in the same color as their semantic meanings (e.g. the word BLUE printed in blue ink.) Also when they made a mistake, they had to...
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