This activity page will offer:
Insight into understanding processing conflicts
hands-on minds-on activity using the Stroop Effect
opportunity to design psychological tests
- Use the ruler and a pencil to draw five horizontal lines across
a sheet of drawing paper. Don't press down too hard with your
pencil, since the lines will act only as a guide to insure that
your writing remains level and consistent. Each line should contain
four words, so arrange the spacing accordingly.
- Pick any colored marker. Then, use that marker to spell out
any color other than that of the marker. For example, if you select
a red marker, you could write the word "blue" or "green" or "orange".
The only word you should not write is "red."
- Pick another marker. Again, use this marker to write a color
word that contrasts with the actual ink color of this marker.
Continue in this fashion until the five lines are filled with
a total of twenty contrasting color words.
- Select a subject who will participate in your survey. Display
the chart and use the first word as an example. Explain that the
subject needs to identify the color of ink used to create each
word - not the word that is being spelled. So if red letters are
used to spell the word blue, the subject must say "red".
- Once they understand their responsibilities, you are ready to
proceed. Begin with the top line, reading across. Ask them to
recite the correct ink colors for each of the displayed words.
When they are done, have them continue with the other lines. Once
all twenty words are read, ask them to repeat the exercise.
- How did your subjects respond to the test?
- Does practice improve a person's ability to identify colors?
- Do you think that turning the chart upside down would affect
- What strategy might help to identify the words with less difficulty?
that you see how this works, it's time to produce hard data associated
with the Stroop Test. Create a strategy for measuring time as part
of this activity. How should you begin? Should you see how long
it takes someone to recite the whole list? Should a subject go back
and start from the beginning when a mistake is made? Or should the
time be fixed, with the number of wrong answers recorded when time
is called? Perhaps you should measure the amount of time that a
person hesitates before stating their answer? It's up to you.
Do you think that the Stroop Effect equally effects males and females?
Why or why not?
(Accept all reasonable answers.)
Design a test that might show the influence that gender might have
on color word confusion. Once you have developed your strategy,
share it with your teacher. With the instructor's permission, gather
data on a group of subjects. Keep a record of how the groups organized
by gender perform. Share your research conclusion with your classmates.
Is the Stroop Effect limited to colors, or can we expand this to
other sensations? Think about the meanings of the three words "right,
left and center." When you hear these words most like you associate
each mentally with a specific direction. Suppose you heard the words
spoken to you from a certain direction, and that direction was the
opposite of the word's meaning (For example, the word "left" is
spoken on your right side). Would that affect how you process the
information? Would you identify the direction of the spoken word
sooner if it were consistent with the meaning of the word? Now,
it's your turn. Use what you learned in the activity above and create
a strategy for inquiry in which you could explore this sound version
of the Stroop Effect. How would you develop a controlled experiment?
What variables might be problematic? How would sounds be presented?
the Brain and Spinal Cord http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/introb.html
Neuroscience for kids is one of the best sites on brain basics.
This fun site offers an interactive online Stroop Test that times
- The Stroop Test http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/everest/exposure/
Learn how the Stroop Test is used to test climbers for altitude
sickness, then take the test yourself.
activities in this guide were contributed by Michael DiSpezio, a
Massachusetts-based science writer and author of "Critical Thinking
Puzzles" and "Awesome Experiments in Light & Sound" (Sterling Publishing
Academic Advisors for this Guide:
Corrine Lowen, Science Department, Wayland Public Schools, Wayland,
Suzanne Panico, Science Teacher Mentor, Cambridge Public Schools,
Anne E. Jones, Science Department, Wayland Middle School, Wayland,