The Effect of Primary and Secondary Colors on Our Perception Time - the Stroop Effect

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
IntroductionBackground Research3
Rationale4
Aim 4
Hypothesis4

MethodologyMethod and design6
Variables6
Participants6
Apparatus 7
Procedure7
Controls8

Results Summary table9
Commentary on summary table9
Additional Graphical description of Results 10
Descriptive Statistics Comments11
Relationship to the Hypothesis11

DiscussionValidity12
Improving validity13
Reliability13
Improving reliability14
Implications of the study 14
Generalisation of findings15
Application to everyday life16

Bibliography17

AppendicesAppendix A18
Appendix B19
Appendix C20

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND RESEARCH
In this experiment, I investigated the effect of certain colors on our ‘perception time’. I used the ‘Stroop Effect’ as a method for measuring the ‘perception time’.

The earliest findings on the subject of ‘Perception of colors’ came from the incident involving ‘Turner on Vanishing Day 1846, Sheffield City Gallery’. Turner’s act on ‘vanishing day’ of altering his paintings into glorious colors as opposed to monochrome by his competitors proved the important point that; colour is likely to form a very lasting impression on its viewers. The colour red was in particular important in this context as proved by the ‘red buoy’ incident – spectators were drawn to the painting of the red buoy rather than any other paintings (which also had some color in then), because Turner had included the colour red in his painting. This theory was later fully explained by biological developments which showed that the human eye contains receptors called cones which initially respond to specific wavelengths of red, green and blue ( all the primary colors first). Therefore it was not surprising in Turner’s painting that the colour red, attracted more attention than other colors.

This biological theory is related to cognitive psychology because the research involves ‘perception’ of colors (e.g. the color red), and perception is a cognitive function. The concept of the ‘human brain recognizing certain colors before others’ can be demonstrated by the Stroop Effect’. Initially, the Stroop Effect deals with the cognitive process of people identifying the colors of color words. In the original experiment demonstrating the Stroop Effect, which was conducted by J. Ridley Stroop in 1935, Stroop administered 2 main tests to compare his results. In test 1, participants were required to say the color names presented in corresponding colors and in test 2, participants required to say the conflicting colors of the color names (e.g.. ‘pink’ was written in red and they had to say red). Stroop found out that there was a large increase in the time taken by participants to say the conflicting colors of the color names. Stroop thought that this interference was caused by the automatization of reading, where the mind automatically reads the word, and then must override this first impression so that it can identify of the color referred by the word. This means that naming the color of the color name when it’s presented in a conflicting color is a process which is cognitive and not automatized.

Since the original experiment in 1935, there have been further investigations to test different variations of the Stroop effect. One of which is the study conducted by Flowers et al. in 1979. In this study participants were given 10 rows of numbers where each row had same numbers - e.g. 1st row – 2 2 2; 2nd row – 3 3 . Then they were asked to count the numbers in each row, not read them out. It was found that people have difficulty in resisting saying the numbers that make up each row rather than counting them This is because reading of numbers is much more automated than counting them.

In both the experiments of 1935 and 1979, it is established that reading is an automatic process where the mind automatically reads the number/word and then it has to do ‘thinking’ (a cognitive...
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