Monday, February 23, 2009
You may have heard of the Stroop effect..
In psychology, the Stroop effect is a demonstration of the reaction time of a task. When a word such as blue, green, red, etc. is printed in a color differing from the color expressed by the word's semantic meaning (e.g. the word "red" printed in blue ink), naming the color of the word takes longer and is more prone to errors than when the meaning of the word is congruent with its ink color. The effect is named after John Ridley Stroop who first published the effect in English in 1935.
In case you're not familiar with the effect, it occurs when you try to say the color a word is printed in, while the word itself names a color (so if you see "RED" you should say "green.") Try it with these short lists. Remember, say the color the word is PRINTED in, not the color named by the word.
Let me make this a poll. Tell us which column was most difficult for you to read??
Use the poll section below to vote..
The basic Stroop effect predicts that Columns 2 and 3 will be much harder than Column 1, since reading the name of a different color makes it more difficult for us to say the color of the letters.
But, the interesting fact here is that, Column 3 should be more difficult than Column 2. Why? It's a process called "negative priming." In Column 3, the color of the letters in a word is named in the word above it ("Black" is printed in purple, "Red"is printed in black, and so on).