Academic journal article Perception and Psychophysics

Influence of Color Word Availability on the Stroop Color-Naming Effect

Academic journal article Perception and Psychophysics

Influence of Color Word Availability on the Stroop Color-Naming Effect

Article excerpt

Three experiments tested whether the Stroop color-naming effect is a consequence of word recognition's being automatic or of the color word's capturing visual attention. In Experiment 1, a color bar was presented at fixation as the color carrier, with color and neutral words presented in locations above or below the color bar; Experiment 2 was similar, except that the color carrier could occur in one of the peripheral locations and the color word at fixation. The Stroop effect increased as display duration increased, and the Stroop dilution effect (a reduced Stroop effect when a neutral word is also present) was an approximately constant proportion of the Stroop effect at all display durations, regardless of whether the color bar or color word was at fixation. In Experiment 3, the interval between the onsets of the to-be-named color and the color word was manipulated. The Stroop effect decreased with increasing delay of the color word onset, but the absolute amount of Stroop dilution produced by the neutral word increased. This study's results imply that an attention shift from the color carrier to the color word is an important factor modulating the size of the Stroop effect.

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Although people's sensory systems receive large amounts of information about their surroundings, only a fraction of that information is processed at a deeper level. Selective attention is needed in order to process the information that is relevant to the person's intentions and goals. However, in many situations, selective attention seems to be unnecessary for processing certain information. There are cases in which information that is irrelevant to a task is still processed to a level at which it distracts and affects a person's performance. Cognitive psychologists have been interested in this phenomenon for many years, trying to answer the question of why people cannot ignore some information that is irrelevant to their task goals. How irrelevant information affects performance has been studied using the Eriksen flanker task (Eriksen & Eriksen, 1974), the Simon task (Simon, 1990), and the Stroop color-naming task (Stroop, 1935), among others. In these tasks, an irrelevant stimulus dimension is to be ignored, and a relevant dimension is to be attended and responded to quickly. For example, in the Stroop color-naming task, participants are asked to name the color of the target as quickly as possible while ignoring the meaning of a color word. Despite the fact that the instructions are to ignore the word's meaning, color-naming responses are slower when the meaning and the target color are incongruent than when they are congruent or when no color word is present (Stroop, 1935).

The influence of irrelevant stimuli has long been taken to be evidence of automatic processing (see MacLeod, 1991; Moors & De Houwer, 2006). Automatic processing is often described as meeting three criteria (Posner & Snyder, 1975; Schneider & Shiffrin, 1977; Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977): The processing (1) always occurs whenever an appropriate stimulus is present, regardless of whether there is an intention to process the stimulus; (2) is unavailable to consciousness, and so is impossible to stop once it starts; (3) demands zero attentional resources. Many researchers (e.g., Brown, Gore, & Carr, 2002; MacLeod & Dunbar, 1988) have suggested that word recognition in the Stroop task is automatic, even though this purported automatic processing does not necessarily meet these criteria in an all-or-none manner. For example, MacLeod and Dunbar proposed that a dimension that is processed more automatically will interfere with one that is processed less automatically, but not vice versa. Because word reading is more automatic than color naming, color naming is influenced by word reading, but word reading is not influenced by color naming. Cohen, Dunbar, and McClelland (1990) developed a parallel distributed processing model of the Stroop effect on the basis of this premise; in this model, the Stroop asymmetry occurs because the associations of color names to color words are stronger than the names' associations to the actual colors. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.