Confusing Colors (Stroop Effect)
Is it difficult to name an ordinary color? Try this simple test. After you click on “Start”, a word will appear in the box. Click on one of the four buttons (or press the first letter of the color) that matches the color of the word in the box. For example, if BLUE shows up in the box, click on the “Red” button. You will have 20 trials. Try to respond as quickly as you can.
Did you have trouble naming the color of the word when the word didn’t match its color?
This is one of the strongest effects in experimental psychology, and it was first described by J.R. Stroop in 1935 (do a google search for ‘Stroop effect’ for more information. If you try to name the physical color of a word, the word itself can “interfere” with the process of naming the color of the word. If the word and color don’t match (incongruent), it often takes longer to name the color. If the word does match its color (congruent), it usually takes less time to respond. If you are like most people, your incongruent response times will be longer than your congruent response times. Word recognition is an automatic process. It is even faster than the process of matching the color of an object. Consequently, the word recognition process interferes with and slows down the color matching process. Experiments like this help psychologists to understand the processes of the brain.