Selective attention and the stroop effect


Selective attention and its theories have been customized over many years, early ones such as 'bottleneck' theories have led to more recent theories that information can be refined through some automatic procedures or unconsciously. It's advocated that many each day duties such as reading are tasks that can be overlearned and be automatic, these automated duties can be difficult to control. This article examines a report of the Stroop impact which talks about whether automatic operations could hinder colour identification process. The findings of this record show that programmed processes did hinder colour identification as identification was slower when presented with a list of coloring related words than when shade neutral words were used.


Our sense organs are constantly being bombarded with great levels of information which must be processed allowing it to be utilized. Our brain has a restricted capacity for dealing with the all the information it recieves which explains why cognitive procedures are triggered. The cognitive process acts as a filtration system that selects only the info that is necessary for further handling and discards the rest, it's advocated that we do not necessarily have total control over this technique. This process is recognized as selective attention.

Research that has previously been conducted recommended that information was prepared to a certain degree and was known as the 'cocktail get together effect'. This was follwed up and resulted in the split-span technique which was developed by Broadbent (1954 ) it recommended that we have a limited capacity cognitive system and this attention can only just be focused on one channel at the same time. He conducted a series of dichotic listening lab tests which involved participants being simultaneously given seperate numerical information into each ear canal, the participants were able to recall these details easier in one ear canal than the other. . He concluded that attention can only just be focused on one channel at the same time. However, this did not provide an explanation of the way the brain can cope with more than one activity at a time. Kahneman's capacity model (1973 ) needed this research further, he suggested that the within the brain was some type of processer that could incorporate new information with information that were already stored, concluded that some duties could be overlearned, therefore necessitating only a small amount of processing as that they had become automated.

Shiffrin and Schnieder (1977) researched the likelihood of automatic control andthrough some experiments had the ability, to recognize some differences between controlled operations which require a big amount of handling resources and programmed processes that happen unconsiously. This breakthrough resulted in the devolopment of two-process ideas. An example of an automatic process is reading, whilst it is difficult to learn initially, with pratice it eventually becomes programmed requiring no mindful effort.

Stroop's experiment (1935 ) exhibited that participants got difficulty in naming the ink color of words that were the labels of colours, matching to Scriffen and Schneider reading of the words is an automated process but, to determine the ink coloring required controlled operations to be used.

The reason behind this test is to find out whether automatic handling interferes with handled handling in a variance of the Stroop experiment. That is a one-tailed hypothesis. The null hypothesis was that there wouldn't normally be any difference in the time taken to complete both conditions.


A within -individuals design was used for this test. Two conditions were applied to represent the independent adjustable. Condition 1 and Condition 2. Condition 1 contains a set of words in coloring names and condition 2 was a set of colur neutral words. The dependant variable was enough time taken up to name the ink colors. In both conditions the members had to mention which colour ink the words on both lists were written in giving a verbal response. The participants response to each list was timed by using a stopwatch and registered to the nearest second. To counteract possible confounding variables the order where the conditions were used were altered to avoid a possible practice result and the same quantity and colours of what were found in each list as the time taken will be based upon this. Some inks may stand out more than others.


Twenty participants agreed to take part in the analysis. Sixteen of the individuals were recruited by the Start University from amidst work fellow workers, family or friends. The remaining four were recruited by myself and consisted of neighbour, s and friends. This range of the individuals was from 18 to 69 years and contains fourteen females and six males. Towards the best of my knowledge all participants were naive to the hypothesis, fluent audio speakers of English, didn't suffer with aesthetic impairment or shade blindness or dyslexia. Account was presented with to the BPS Ethical guidelines and it was concluded that this test was within them and that there wouldn't normally be any breach.


The participants were asked to sit down at a stand in a proper lit room so that the colours were obviously identifiable. A mobile phone stopwatch software was used to time the length of time it needed each participant to complete each job to the nearest second. Two lists of words were used, each filled with 30 words split into two columns of 15 using A4 bed sheets of paper. . The first list contains 30 words that were shade related, i. e, Sky. The next list made up of 30 words that were colour neutral, i. e. Sty. What in both lists were written in one of 6 different colorings which were found in the same order for each and every of the lists. . There were 6 words in total on each list and each term was used 5 times and were randomised. A reply sheet made up of the participants era, gender, particiapant number and time considered for the test was used to record the info collected. The term lists used are given in Appendix1. Standard instructions were given to each participant and each provided their consent by concluding a consent form (Appendix2).


Each of the parcipants chosen were asked if indeed they were prepared to take part in a cognitive psychology experiment and advised that the test would take between 5 and ten minutes. Every one of the participants who agreed to participate were asked to read and then sign a consent form. The members age and making love were recorded onto the respone sheet against a participant number i. e, participant 1, 2 etc. and they were informed of what was going to occur during the test. Instructions for the test were read out to the individuals. They were informed that they were heading to be examined individually and that they would discover two mattress sheets of paper during the test, each sheet comprising words paper in coloring inks and that they were being asked to say out loud the color of printer ink each phrase was written in the quickest time possible. After the fisrt sheet had been completed there will be a 1 minute hold off before starting the second sheet. Each participant was asked if indeed they clearly understood that which was being asked of these. The task was then started out, each participant was initially given one sheet of paper facedown filled with either condition 1 or condition 2, they were then asked to turn over the newspaper and start the test. When the paper was transformed the stopwatch was started and their response time was noted to the nearest second, followed by the next sheet that was recorded in the same way. . The order that the bed sheets received out were randomised but it was made certain that all participant had taken both condition 1 and 2. When both assessments were completed the participant was completely debriefed and asked if indeed they experienced any questions.


The research hypothesis in this test was that the participnats would take much longer to complete one of the condtions than the other. The ends in the Table (Appendix 3) show the mean response times for Condition 1 were 2. 50 mere seconds much longer than those for Condition 2. A matched examples t-test was used to investigate the accumulated data, it has shown that there surely is a big change between the response times between the two conditions (t (19) = 4. 430, p =. 000, d = 0. 648, bottom on this effect the null hypothesis was turned down.


The results of this experiment provide facts that enough time taken to read a list of color related words was significantly increased when compared to reading a list of colour neutral words. This is consistent with the reaseach hypothesis of the test and the experiment by Stroop (1935). Stroop conducted his experiment on 100 people therefore the sample size because of this experiment is significantly smaller, even though the results illustrate similar studies. These results contradict Broadbent's and other 'bottleneck' theories because if attention can only be focused on one route, there would be no conflict with information on a second route as it might be disregarded. The results show that processing was occuring at an unconscious level which is commensurate with Kahnaman, s theory that duties could be overlearned and for that reason become automated requiring little use of available cognitive processes. The strongest marriage that the results of the experiment has to cognitive processing ideas is the theory of Shiffrin and Schneider. They advised that duties could become so programmed that any intrusion make an effort would not be given priority over robotic responsibilities, Reading is said to be an overlearned task, when presented with a set of words automatic processing occurs, for example, we try to work out the meaning of the words and never have to consciously consider what must be done. During the experiment members were offered a set of words and could have automatically tried to work out the meanings of the words, however, these were asked never to interpret the words but, to just name the color of ink they were paper in. As the results show this task was found to become more difficult, specially when the word was not related to the colour. The reason for this is the fact that although they realized that that they had to name the color of the printer ink, the automatic procedure for interpreting the meaning of the term was already dynamic, this then required extra processing resources to be employed. The automatic process was incompatible with the mindful effort of naming the printer ink color, this is reflected in the changing times recorded, the members were slower when necessary to provide more attention to naming the printer ink colour.

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