The investigation of the controlled and the automatic processes employing the Stroop effect experiment.
The interference between the controlled and the automatic processes was observed in the Stroop effect type experiment using two different conditions. The original Stroop effect experiment concluded that the participants will find it more difficult to complete the reading task of the words related to colour meaning in comparison to the reading task of non-colour related words. The result of Stroop experiment supported the notion that control and automatic processes can obstruct each other in certain tasks. In the current experiment, the two conditions in reading task were modified to make them look more visually similar. The result indicated that despite of visual similarities, the automatic processes interfered with control processes due to the colour related properties of the words in Stroop condition.
The large quantity of information we come across in our everyday life is staggering. It is very hard to understand how much of this information is taken in and how much of the information just pass by. It is up to cognitive processes to decide how much and to what extent the information is accepted for further processing. This selection process has been identified as attention. All of the above is indicating that our brain is not capable to process all the information available to us therefore attentional processes are required. Various theories were devised to clarify and explain the process of selection, such as a limited - capacity theory of Kahneman or bottleneck theory of attention by Broadbent (as cited in Edgar, 2007) However how much of this process are we aware of? Can we influence how much of the information is taken in or is it our subconscious which is in control? The attentional processes are divided between conscious – control processes and subconscious – automatic processes. Even though both processes operate in very different ways, they both can work simultaneously and both have their advantages and disadvantages. The control process is conscious, therefore easy to control, however it is using a large amount of the processing resources. Based on the experiments conducted by Schneider and Shiffrin (as cited in Edgar, 2007), it is assumed that automatic processed are not using up attentional resources as no conscious awareness is employed. The most famous experiment demonstrating the interference between the control and automatic processes was carried out by Stroop (1935). In the original Stroop experiment the participants were presented with a list of words printed in different coloured ink. In the first list, the words were names of colour printed in ink which never matched with the name of the colour – Stroop condition. Second list was containing a colour-neutral words. The participants were asked to read the name of the colour of the ink instead of the word itself. The finding was that in the colour-neutral words, the participants completed the task without difficulties. However, in the Stroop condition the participants found it more difficult as they were trying to prevent responding with the name of the colour rather than the colour of the ink. (as cited in Edgar, 2007) The experiment above is demonstrating one of the disadvantages of the automatic processes. Even though the automatic processes are not using up our precious attentional resources, they can interfere with the control processes as we are not able to just turn them off. To test this theory further a present experiment was created using both the Stroop condition model and the control condition. However, the Stroop condition was modified to include the colour-related words rather than the names of the colour. The words used were such as blood or carrot with strong relation to the certain colour. The words were printed in the colour ink not matching with the colour related to the word. Even though the...
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