How the Brain Controls Recalling Colour Evocative Wording Against Non Colour Evocative Wording Using the Stroop Effect

Topics: Brain, Microsoft Word, Human brain Pages: 18 (3090 words) Published: September 7, 2010
This is a study to show how the brain controls recalling colour evocative wording against non colour evocative wording using the Stroop effect


This experiment researched the effect of the automatic processes the brain behaves in the Stroop effect. The Stroop effect was found by J.R Stroop in 1932, and it tries to identify when participants recalling the colour, in which words are written more difficult than recalling words that are in conflicting colours to which they are printed. The test was to determine if the unconscious brain would interfere with the conscious and controlled brain. Twenty participants were recruited to be tested and timed, which was all recorded and analysed. The results showed that there was a similar response between the two conditions, however, one response was slower than the other, which the participants recalling the coloured words took longer.


In the world today there is a lot of unlimited information that is available and received by our brains. However, not all the information humans receive the brain processes, ‘..our brains are limited in terms of how much they can take in, process, and store’. (As cited in Edgar, 2007, pg11).

Not all the information a brain receives is consciously processed, for example, the study by Simon and Levin (as cited in Edgar, 2007, pg16). There is an unlimited amount of information in the world that our brains simply can’t remember as we only have a limited amount of room. The brain can process information in two ways, conscious processing and unconscious processing. If a particular situation or object fascinates a humans unconscious attention the brain responds to the sensations and then changes to conscious controlled processing as by means of selective processing and the information will be stored and remembered. Many times during the day when a human does a regular activity our brain mainly uses the unconscious process and automatically receives information but it is not processed and stored as it could already be stored previously. A human needs the brain to process automatically as it ‘saves space’ and requires less effort and attention from our brains in day to day life and activities.

Schneider and Schifrin (as cited in Edgar, 2007, pg20) believed there were other processes that were different from other researchers. Schneider and Shriffrin thought that a brain does not need to have the controlled attention to carry out an automatic process ‘…not to draw on attentional capacity or processing resources and occur without conscious awareness’. (as cited in Edgar, 2002, pg 20) This has led to a process called the ‘Two-process theories’.

However, a downside to the automatic process to which Schneider and Shriffrin believed was demonstrated in the ‘Stroop effect’ (pg21 Stroop 1935) where it was established that there was and interference in a controlled selective automatic process. J.R Stroop discovered in 1935, the reaction time was delayed when a participant had to recall the colour a word was printed in and not the semantic word compared to recalling the word and not the colour it was printed in.

The research hypothesis was that the participants will take longer to respond and complete condition 1, where the participants have to say the colour and not the word. This is a one-tailed hypothesis; the null hypothesis would be that there will be no difference in time reposes between condition 1 and condition 2.

This experiment is to show how our brains can interfere with our controlled and conscious mind. The design that was employed in this experiment was the within-participant. The Independent variable was the stimuli consisting of two conditions, condition had words connect with colours written in incongruent colours, for example, blood would be written in green and not red and condition 2 had words in non evocative colours, for example, career would be in yellow to which the participant had...

Cited: in Edgar, 2007, pg11).
It is also hard for the human brain to stop the response to automatic processing
Edgar, G (2007)
Stroop, J.R (1935) ‘Studies of interference in serial verbal reaction’, Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 18, no 6, pp. 643-62.
Kahneman, D. (1973) Attention and effort, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
Lavie, N. (1995) ‘Perceptual loads as a necessary condition for selective attention’, journal of experiment Psychology: Human perception and performance, vol.21, n.3, pp.451-68
Schneider, W
Colour reference list (Microsoft Word 2003).
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