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The Stroop test

Laura Swash

27th July 2016

If you are a Psychology teacher or student, some of you may have heard of this already. The Guardian newspaper science section recently ran an article on how to conduct the Stroop test, which might be useful for people considering doing it as their research task for their psychology course.

The Stroop Task - you can try this classic psychological experiment for yourself.

This really is something you can try at home! As the article points out, it was the American psychologist J Ridley Stroop who, in 1935, demonstrated just how automatic the reading process can be. We read words automatically. Just try not reading something and you’ll see what I mean. He became interested in discovering what could interfere with the reading process, and conducted an experiment wherein people were asked to read the colour that a “colour” word was written in, rather than the word itself. Easy?

Look at the picture above. When you are saying the colour of the word GREEN (which is in red font), you will see what I mean. Of course, his original series of experiments was much more complex than this, and the link is given in the article. This is based on sound psychological theory of interference with automatic processing, and you might like to try it on yourself and your friends. All you need is a colour printer or some coloured pens and you are ready to go!

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Laura Swash

Laura has been teaching Psychology in the face-to-face classroom and online for many years and she enjoys writing online academic material and blogs.

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