Gender Differences in Performance on the Stroop Test

By Baroun, Khader; Alansari, Bader | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, March 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Gender Differences in Performance on the Stroop Test


Baroun, Khader, Alansari, Bader, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


This study assessed differences in gender performance among Kuwaiti male and women on the Stroop Test (Stroop, 1935). Participants were 504 university students, 122 men and 382 women (age M= 21:0, SD= 2.7 yrs). Prior studies have shown that females by and large display differential performance (shorter latencies) from males on the word card, color card, and color word card of the Stroop Test. Results indicate that the Kuwaiti women read faster on the color card than did the males, and especially were faster with intercepting three cards of tests (interaction effect). Gender differences were observed in the color card and color-word card tests but not significantly for the word card test. The results do substantiate the gender difference in Stroop color and interference.

Keywords: gender performance, Stroop interference, color card, university students, interaction effect.

The extensive literature on the Stroop Test (Stroop, 1935) includes many inconsistencies. Although a number of generalizations concerning the Stroop effect are accepted, some studies such as Macleod (1991) yielded gender difference on the interference card, while other studies reported that men and women did not display differential interference. Still other studies reported that women were quicker on the Stroop color-word card test than men were (Sarmany, 1977).

There is a widespread agreement among researchers (Golden, 1974; Sarmany, 1977) that females tend to have shorter latency on the color card, while males and females perform almost equally on the word card.

The differences between men and women in processing body shapes and body weight stimuli, utilizing the Stroop Test to assess the intensity of attitudes, were examined by Ben-Tovim, Walker and Douros (1993) using 30 volunteers (15 men and 15 women). The analysis yielded no significant differences between men and women in latency of naming the color of words which were related to being fat.

On the color-word card (interference card), many researchers reported no significant difference between males and females for latency of naming of color words (Alansari, 1990; Bone & Eysenck, 1972; Naish, 1980; Peretti, 1969; Singh, 1991; Stroop, 1935; Waber, 1976). Several other studies have also reported a significantly shorter latency for women (Dash & Dash, 1987; Golden, 1974; Pati & Dash, 1990; Peretti, 1971), while conversely, significantly shorter latencies for males five times in succession have also been reported (Sarmany, 1977). Yet, experimental evidence is not conclusive for the interference effects of sex in the Stroop Test.

Mekarski, Cutmore and Subost (1996) investigated the discrepancy in the literature on gender differences for Stroop interference, and found that men were consistently slower than women over trial blocks. They indicated that women were performing in shorter times on the Stroop Test latencies than men. Significant sex differences on time taken to complete the color-naming and wordreading cards were also reported in another study (Strickland, Elia, James, & Stein, 1997), with latencies in reading time by women shorter than those of men. This finding was consistent with Golden (1974).

Several other studies have investigated gender differences in performance (e.g., Townsend, Norman, Malla, Rychlo, & Ahmed, 2002), finding that neither gender nor duration of untreated psychosis related to the degree of change in cognitive functioning in perceiving in the Stroop Color and Word Test. Gottschalk et al. (2002) found no significant effect on cognitive impairment scores by age, education, gender, race or duration of drug abuse abstinence.

A recent study conducted on a sample of 349 children (174 boys and 175 girls), age 6 to 12 years and from two Mexican schools, who were administered the Stroop Test in Spanish (Armengol, 2002), showed significant gender differences. Another study, conducted on 2000 English and Spanish subjects in the United States, showed no gender differences in performance across all Stroop tasks (Insua, 2002). …

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