The Stroop Effect
Research papers on the Stroop effect illustrate that this theory is an important part of understanding interference in the brain when reading. Learn more about the Stroop affect from the writers at Paper Masters. You can have our writers write on any aspect, study or research done on this amazing phenomena.
Stroop (1935) in his experiments with interferences in stimuli presentation found that when words were presented to subjects in a color ink that was different from the actual word—i.e. printing the word blue in the color red—the time that it took for the subject to read a list of words increased dramatically. Stroop argued that this occurred because of interference in the brain promulgated by automatic systems of thought that have been created over the course of time. In short, when a subject saw the word “blue” his or her first instinct was to read the word rather than read the color in which it is printed. Forcing the brain to read the color that the word is printed in is antithetical to the automatic pathways of thinking that have been well established in the brain. Specifically, Schmidt and Chessman (2005) note that, “The Stroop effect has been cited as evidence for the automaticity of reading and how it interferes with other ongoing cognitive processes”.
In Stroop’s, the author examined two effects:
- First the author measured the difference of naming colors printed in black versus naming colors printed in the color that they represented. The results from this test showed no statistical difference in the reading times of the words.
- Next, Stroop had the same subjects read a list of 100 colors printed in black and then compared this time with the time that it took for the subjects to read color names printed in other colors—i.e. the word blue printed in red ink. The results showed a significant difference in the time that it took for the subjects to read the color rather than to simply read the color name.
The independent variable measured in this investigation was the stimuli of words and colored words presented to the subjects. In total there are three levels of the independent variable: the colors printed in black, the colors printed in their respective colors and the colors printed in other colored ink.
In the first part of this investigation, 70 undergraduate students were given lists of colors printed in black and list of colors printed in their actual color. The list of words was placed on a piece of paper in front of the subject. When the experimenter asked them to begin, the subjects turned the lists over and read the words as quickly as possible. The group was broken into two, and given the lists in an opposite manner to ensure that placement of the lists did not impact timing. In the second part of the investigation, the same methods were utilized; however, the lists were switched such that the subjects were given a list of colors in black and a list of colors printed in different color inks. The results demonstrate that when subjects read the list of colors printed in different inks, the time that it took to read the list increased dramatically over simply reading the colors printed in black.