The stroop impact and relation to selective attention

Early "bottleneck theories of attention" (Edgar, 2007 p. 17) allowed for only 1 channel of source to be semantically examined all other information was discarded. Later discrepancy to attention theory recommended that all inputs were examined but that a lot of this is automated and unconscious. However, automatic functions are hard to regulate and unlearn. This task is a report of the Stroop effect and exactly how over learned; programmed processing could hinder a colour identification task. It had been revealed that ink colour identification was slower for a set of colour titles than when natural words were used which unconscious semantic handling was occurring.


In the 1900's J Ridley Stroop (as cited in Edgar, 2007) showed that if someone was reading information, and other conflicting inputs were added, the pace at which the individual read would decelerate. The rationale for this experiment is to research the Stroop effect, and to gauge the interference of automatic, unconscious semantic processing. The experimental hypothesis is that the time taken to identify the printer ink colours of any list of color brands will be longer than that of a control list of natural words. The null hypothesis is the fact you will see no difference in the handling time for the two lists.

Attention is a system, which permits us to select and process significant received information. Selective attention is the ability to give attention to one job at the same time whilst filtering out any eternal stimuli, which might be off adding. However, divided attention is the ability to separate ones attention between two or more duties. Therefore, if one of the responsibilities is an automated process, it becomes more simplistic to divide ones attention between the two jobs.

However, rather than being helpful, disturbance can occur amongst the controlled process and the computerized process. Psychologists have frequently set up that the autonomic dynamics of reading words, since it is such a well-learned repeated activity can obstruct other tasks. This suggestion has been looked into by lots of research workers.

Kanheman (as cited in Edgar, 2007) devised a theory, which was built around the idea that the mind is a "limited-capacity central cpu" (Edgar, 2007 p. 17). He recommended that some tasks might be rather autonomic; so make less demand in terms of mental exertion, such as a reading activity. Several actions can be carried out at the same time, so long as their total effort does not go over the available capacity. So usually an autonomic job won't require much mental exertion and so often can be executed automatically.

Shiffrin and Schneider (as cited in Edgar, 2007) explored automatic processing in great fine detail and identified a few of the characteristics in comparison with controlled processes. A bit of research, an experiment followed with participants being required to seek out particular words (target items) amongst an assortment of digits (distracter items). For instance, members were asked to recognize as fast as possible characters from B-L (focus on items) within the part of the alphabet from Q-L (distracter items). After 2001 studies, the participants were able to identify the target items extremely quickly without having to take into account the alphabet each and every time. Throughout a second part to the experiment, the distracter items and goal items were switched around which meant that the recently learnt job of spotting words from B-L became having to identify characters from Q-L. Shiffrin and Schneider discovered that the time taken by the individuals to complete the task increased significantly. Therefore, the already discovered, automatic process proven very difficult to improve, this demonstrates how automatic operations become rigid and fixed after practise.

Stroop (as cited in Edgar, 2007) completed an investigation into autonomic control, thus inventing the Stroop result. With this, he asked individuals to learn a set of color words written in black ink. This easy job was simple for the individuals to complete.

Participants were then asked to read a set of coloring words written in conflicting coloured inks, (e. g. , the term "blue" written in red colour ink) and call out the colour ink the words were written in. Although this task look like uncomplicated and is also 100 % pure and simple color recognition, Stroop established that the participants took considerably longer to complete this then the prior. The reason being that the powerful autonomic (unconscious) dynamics of reading words supposed that members automatically wanted to browse the words as opposed to the colour ink these were written in. So, even though the participants did not often read the colour word aloud, a time wait was present whilst the participants thought of the right response (the color printer ink).



The aim of the experiment is to explore whether it requires the participants much longer to learn a list of colours typed in shade related words, or whether it requires the participants longer to learn the list of words keyed in neutral colours. A between participants design will be used.

The experimental hypothesis is that participants will need longer to identify the colour related words than the natural words. This is a one-tailed, hypothesis. The null hypothesis is the fact that you will see no difference in the times taken to identify either the color related words or even to identify the neutral words. The impartial variable was symbolized by two conditions; two word lists printed in various coloured inks. One list consisted of coloring related words and the other of natural words. The centered variable was enough time taken up to name the ink colours.


The twenty individuals that needed part in this test were made up of sixteen recruited from Open College or university these included workers or their relatives and buddies. These members were fully briefed and provided their educated consent to take part in the test, and were debriefed afterwards. The participants were naive to the hypothesis of the experiment. The ultimate four were members of my very own family. A verbal briefing was presented with to these participants at the start and a debriefing after the experiment had been completed. Through the briefing it was obviously mentioned that 'you can withdraw at any time if you feel, for just about any reason, you do not want to continue. ' Within the debriefing it was explained that 'All results will remain anonymous, as well as your name will never be used in the info collection. ' The members were offered the chance to withdraw their information if indeed they wished to accomplish that.

As well as the briefing and the debriefing, we also got to gain enlightened consent. This is mainly gained from the briefing and debriefing, but also meant we had to inform the participants of all goals in the inspection. Also we had to inform the participants of all the areas of the investigation or intervention that may reasonably be likely to influence determination to get involved.


An correct stopwatch was used to time just how long it needed each participant to recognize what from both conditions. The visible stimuli consisted of a set of 15 words, presented in two columns by using an A4 size sheet of newspaper (see appendix 2)


In order to standardise the steps, the next exact steps were used conducting the test:

All the materials were prepared in a calm room in which the experiment would take place.

Once chosen, the members were briefed approximately they could be without jeopardising the key point of the test and enlightened consent to handle and use the results of the test was gained (see appendix 1).

Each participant was used in to the same, well lit quiet room individually every time and was read out a sheet of instructions (see appendix 4)

The participant was offered a list of words and was then instructed to read through the list of words as fast as you possbly can.

At the beginning of the recitation of words the stopwatch was began and at the end, it was halted and the results were saved.

This was repeated with a pursuing list (see appendix 2).

Results were collected and the participants were debriefed (see appendix 3).



Mean response time in seconds

Standard deviation

Condition 1

Colour related words

24. 90

4. 855

Condition 2

Neutral words

22. 05

3. 170

The experimenter found that the mean time for the colour related words was 24. 90 seconds and then for the natural words it was 22. 05 moments. The difference between your two word list was 2. 85 mere seconds, this implies that the experimental hypothesis was correct. Members do take much longer to identify color words written in coloring ink than natural words written in shade ink.

The inferential test used to analyse the info was an unbiased examples t-test. The results of the test showed that there is a statistically factor between your mean color related phrase response time and the mean neutral term response time (see appendix 5)

(t (38) = 2. 341, p = 0. 0125, one-tailed, d = 0. 7553126805

This consequence is statistically significant as the p value is leaner than the 0. 05 acceptance level, upon this basis the null hypothesis, that there would be no difference between the time taken to identify the colour related words and enough time taken up to identify the natural words can be turned down.


The results confirmed a significant increase in the time taken to read the colour words over the neutral words. That is consistent with recently reported data and facilitates the experimental hypothesis of the study.

The Stroop result conflicts with the "bottleneck" ( theories such as Broadbent's for the reason that, if channels were selectively filtered, information on a second route would be disregarded and there would be no issue. The results show that involuntary semantic control is going on. Intrusion such as this is consistent with the automatic techniques of Kahneman's model, and with the explanations of automaticity cited by Shiffrin and Schneider. The operation of reading is so well learned that, despite wanting to attend to the colour of the printer ink, the unconscious procedure for interpreting the meanings of what is still taking place. When the word is itself a color, the meaning of the word conflicts with the subject's focus on the printer ink.

The reason behind a rise in reading time is unclear. It had been observed that some of the participants seemed consciously to slow down when reading coloring words, possibly to provide more attention. Others would read both lists at the same rate but slide up; realising their mistake, they would take up amount of time in correcting it. Reviews from the participants verified this view. On a few occasions, uncorrected faults were made; this indicates the practical repercussions of the inability of selective attention in true to life events.

The results from the Stroop impact do have higher implications. The breakthrough that the autonomic nature of reading duties can hinder other controlled operations is very significant, set for example texting on the cellular phone whilst travelling. This experiment shows that the automatic procedure for reading may get attention from the duty of driving and could cause interference. This may result in a significant car accident


The experiment found that unconscious semantic processing of words with an unattended route was intruding upon a task of naming ink colours. This was constant with the Stroop result.


Phoenix, A. (2007). Perception and attention. In D. Miell, A. Phoenix, & K. Thomas (Eds. ), Mapping Mindset (2nd ed. , pp. 3-50). Milton Keynes: The Open up University

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