Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

The Spatial Stroop Effect: A Comparison of Color-Word and Position-Word Interference

Academic journal article Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

The Spatial Stroop Effect: A Comparison of Color-Word and Position-Word Interference

Article excerpt

Published online: 5 April 2014

(£> Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract The Stroop effect is one of the most famous examples of interference in human perception. The present study demonstrates that a position Stroop paradigm, comparable to the classical color-word interference paradigm, resulted in the same pattern of interference for the spatial dimension; however, the interference was significantly weaker. By exchanging the original oral response for a manual response in the spatial paradigm, we showed that the verbal component is crucial for the Stroop effect: Manual responses lead to a disappearance of the interference effect. Moreover, with manual responses word position was recognized at the same speed for the baseline condition and for words that were incongruent as well as congruent with the spatial position. The results indicate (1) that the Stoop effect depends heavily on verbal components and (2) that differing processing speeds between reading and position recognition do not serve as a proper explanation for the effect. In addition, the provided paradigm plausibly transfers the classical color-word interference to the spatial dimension.

Keywords Stroop effect . Interference . Spatial . Position

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

The Stroop effect

The famous article on attention and interference by John Riddley Stroop (1935) belongs, without doubt, among the most influential studies in experimental psychology until to- day. Stroop showed that it takes participants much longer to name the display color of a word if the word is the written name of another color, as compared either to words with identical meaning and display color or to colored bars. Stroop's experiments were based on the findings of Cattell (1886), who had demonstrated that it takes longer to name a seen obj ect than to read the name of the obj ect. Within the next 50 years after Cattell's article, a myriad of studies had been conducted to explain the phenomenon, yet Stroop was the first to combine the two functions of reading and color naming, forming incongruent cases and thereby creating the "Stroop effect." The effect describes the time difference between nam- ing the colors of simple bars and the colors of words whose letters comprise the names of incongruent colors. The test created by Stroop, including these two conditions, has been named after its inventor: the "Stroop test."

Despite the considerable number of studies regarding the Stroop phenomenon, no universally accepted explanation has been found. However, two major candidates have been pro- posed: (1) relative processing speed and (2) voluntary versus automatic processes (see MacLeod, 1992). The latter theory assumes reading to be an automatized process that interferes with the voluntary process of color naming. Comalli, Wapner, and Wemer (1962) argued that performance in the Stroop test reflects the ability to hold onto a course of action despite intrusions by other stimuli, calling the reading of color words a highly "automatized activity." Cattell (1886) also described his findings as a result oftwo different processes, one of which is automatized (reading) and the other one voluntary (object naming). Dyer (1973), along with Palef and Olson (1975), on the other hand, proposed different processing speeds for ob- ject naming and reading as the reason for the Stroop effect. However, Dunbar and MacLeod (1984) concluded their re- view by stating that-whether automaticity be a factor or not-relative speeds of processing do not provide an adequate explanation for the effect. The dispute has still not been conclusively resolved, and aspects including word order (Dalrymple-Alford & Budayr, 1966), masking of words (Gumenik & Glass, 1970), or the influence of individual phonemes continue to be subjects of investigation within a flourishing field of research (e.g., Bruchmann, H erp er, Konrad, Pantev, & Huster, 2010; Conty, Gimmig, Belletier, George, & Huguet, 2010; M. …

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