Verbal Reaction Times Experiment Essay

3271 words - 13 pages

This report aimed to replicate Stroop's (1935) experiment. Using the
repeated measures design and a sample of 20 students, differences in
verbal reaction times on two tests were observed. The one-tailed
hypothesis predicted that it would take longer to say words in the Cc,
this is the conflicting condition where the colour of the word differs
from the colour that the word describes. It was found that, using the
t-test for related data, this hypothesis could be accepted as the
obtained value was much greater then the critical value. It can
therefore be concluded that visual interference does affect people's
verbal reactions.

Introduction

In 1935 John Ridley Stroop published his Ph.D. thesis entitled
'Studies of Interference in Serial Verbal Reactions' - the findings of
which became known as 'the Stroop Effect'. Stroop mentioned many
studies in his work but the two that are most relevant for this report
are Brown (1915) and Telford (1930), they conducted very similar
investigations into colour associations and colour recognition
patterns respectively. This area of research is known as controlled
and automatic processing, it involves studies into how humans cope
with divided attention such as multi-tasking. This could be anything
from the simple dishwashing and listening to music simultaneously, to
complex shadowing of continuous prose presented in one ear, whilst
also typing up a separate prose presented to the other ear via
headphones (Shaffer 1975). With their two-process theory, Shiffrin and
Schneider (1977) make useful distinctions between controlled and
automatic processing. They are as follows: controlled processing seems
to need focused attention and requires multi-tasking to be minimised
as much as possible, whereas automatic processes aren't affected by
multi-tasking and they do not require focused attention. However,
automatic processes are hard to amend once learnt. Kahneman proposed
his capacity/resource allocation model in 1973 (see Figure 1):

[IMAGE]

Figure 1

This model could provide an explanation for the Stroop Effect as the
visual interference of the conflicting colour could be described as a
momentary intention (a voluntary shift of attention). This is because
the participant has to force his/herself to read the word and not say
the colour of it. This therefore means that, according to Kahneman,
the central processor has trouble deciding between tasks (in this
case, between reading the actual word or the colour of it). This could
be an explanation for the expected delay in the condition where the
colour of the word is different to the colour that the word describes.

Aims and Hypotheses

Aim

The aim of this report is to replicate Stroop's original (1935)
experiment.

Alternative Hypothesis

Words that are coloured in...

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