Abstract The aim of this experiment was to investigate the amount of disturbance on attention when naming the colors that had obstructing word color stimuli compared to the congruent (serial) colors – this is the Stroop Effect.
This experiment was a replication of J.R. Stroop’s experiment in 1935. I hypothesize that the cognitive interference caused by conflicting stimuli will slow the participants reaction time. The independent variable was the color stimulus named by participants.
Two tests were done naming the colors serially and reading the ink of the word rather than the text. The dependent variable was reaction time taken to recognize and read words correctly which was measured in seconds. The results reveal that naming the ink of a word that is different from the text takes much longer than naming the colors in a serial order. The obstruction or interference of reading the word is is caused by the conflicting stimuli. These results lead to the conclusion that the autonomic functions in our brain are inhibited by the interfering word stimulus that activates a schema. The results supported the hypothesis because the incongruent reaction took longer than the congruent time.Word Count: 191IntroductionCognitive interference is caused by conflicting stimuli, which affects our autonomic processing. This autonomic processing carries out the cognitive task with little to none effort and response.
Two psychologists, Schneider and Shiffrin (1977), distinguished between automatic and controlled processing using visual tests. The two psychologists, Schneider and Shiffrin say that automatic detection/processing is dependent upon attaining responses and how the responses interrupt the controlled processing and interfere with the focusing of attention. Attention can be affected by many factors such as trying to block out other thoughts while attempting to focus on a particular stimulus or disabling automatic processes such as reading. The ability to focus on a specific stimulus is affected by schemas – an active mental organization of information based on prior experience. Focusing on a specific stimulus becomes difficult with conflicting stimuli such as words and colors or multiple languages. When conflicting stimuli are presented, the mind tends to focus on what is important; based on previous experience stored in schemas. The recognition and processing of the semantic meaning of a word stimulus becomes an automatic task after practice. Reading thus interferes in naming colors if paired with a word stimulus when the task is to name the color and ignore the semantic meaning of the word.
The Stroop task (J.R. Stroop, 1935) investigated interference in attention on naming colors. Stroop’s second lab experiment investigated the effects of interfering word stimuli on naming colors serially. He studied naming colors serially using solid colored squares as the control stimulus. Afterwards, Stroop introduced the interfering word stimulus: incongruent word-color pairs. He found that the time taken to name colors in test were significantly higher.
This delay in reaction time due to the word and its conflicting ink color is termed interference – a type of error that might occur in the Stroop effect because of the faulty activation of a schema. The findings suggest that the automaticity of reading inhibits the ability to focus on the color stimulus. Preston and Lambert (1969) studied the Stroop effect in bilinguals, and found that relative proficiency in different languages affects the level of interference. The aim of this experiment is to investigate interference in attention. The reaction time is the delay in focusing and naming the color stimulus. The interference is measured as the difference in reaction time between naming colors serially and naming colors with interfering word stimuli.
This is achieved by a partial replication of Stroop’s original study (Stroop, 1935). Word Count: 399MethodDesignTo prevent participants from knowing the aim of the experiment independent samples were required; this method also eliminated any bias. On the other hand, convenience and time constraints prevented an effective control of the participants. The larger sample size balanced it out.
Informed consent was obtained from the participants before the experiment took place. As I passed out the consent forms, I briefed the participants. They were debriefed at the end of the experiment. The independent variable was the color stimulus and the dependent variable was the reaction time to the color stimuli.Word Count: 93ParticipantsThe target population was high school students in an urban area in the southeast region of the United States.
An opportunistic selection was used due to time constraints and limited resources. The participants were both male and female, and there were 22 participants total. The participants were between the ages of 15 and 18 of both genders. They came from a mix of AP and IB students. Word Count: 67MaterialsStopwatchList of words in same ink color as word (Appendix IV)List of words in different ink color from word (Appendix V)Consent form (Appendix I)Briefing (Appendix II) and debriefing letter forms (Appendix III)Data Tables (Appendix VI/VII)ProcedureParticipants were approached one at a time, and were briefed and received their consent.
Following I presented two lists of color words, one at a time. Participants were instructed to name the colors as fast as possible following the traditional Western reading order (from left to right) for both tests. The sheet for the congruent test was presented to participants and their time taken to name the colors was recorded using a stopwatch. Afterwards participants were told that if they made errors during the interfering color stimuli test, they would have to try again until they named the correct color before proceeding. The interfering color stimuli test was then presented and the time taken to name the colors was recorded. Upon completion participants received written debriefing explaining the aim of the experiment, right to ask questions and view the final report. It also contained the experimenters’ contact information. Word Count: 148ResultsThe score recorded after each test was confirmed by the experimenter.
The raw data was collected in one table provided in Appendix VII. The overall reaction time for the congruent colors ranged from ? 3.3 to ? 7.64 seconds (range ? 4.34). The range for the interfering color stimuli test was significantly higher ? 10.
63 to ? 26.6 seconds (range ? 15.97). The mean reaction times and standard deviation calculations for both tests were used because reaction times are interval data . Mean scores are the average reaction times taken by participants and the standard deviation is a measure of the spread of the data, which allows for a good amount of variance within the data that has been recorded.
Word Count: 125DiscussionThis experiment is similar of that to J.R Stroop’s second experiment. The way in which this experiment was similar to the original is, they both test the autonomic processes of filtering words, and how adding a variable (color of words) changed and hindered the results of the test, being the amount of time it took to decipher between the color of the words with their differing stimuli. There are several factors that could have led to the participants who were involved in this experiment to have had difficulties – one reason could be that they do not read the way that a naturalized citizen of the United States of America does. This is an example of a schema. With this being a difficulty, this could skew the amount of interference placed by the stimuli on the participants, which could lead to varying reaction times.
J.R Stroop’s original experiment was not ethical in the sense of use of genders. Explicitly there were varying amounts of males and females, which is to some extent similar to the experiment that I conducted, because the class that I used did not have an equal amount of each gender.
Another part that I should have added to my briefing was if anyone was color blind, otherwise they would not be able to comprehend the experiment. Being able to test a group of different age, gender, and ethnicities allowed for a good spread of data because it allowed for a better idea of the original experiment. Word Count: 251