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RRL Outline

i. Intro
a. Humans have the capacity to exert cognitive control over their
thoughts and actions, to direct and focus their attention towards task-
relevant information and to inhibit inappropriate actions or stimuli. The
Stroop effect is a paradigmatic test that has been widely used to
investigate cognitive control (Stroop, 1935; for a revision see MacLeod,
i. Navarrete, E., Sessa, P., Peressotti, F., & Dell'Acqua, R. (2015). The distractor
frequency effect in the colour-naming Stroop task: An overt naming event-related
potential study. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 27(3), 277-289.
b. In incongruent trials, the ink-colour and the meaning of the word name
do not match, and cognitive control must enable preferential
processing in a weaker task pathway (colour naming) over a competing
and stronger, but task-irrelevant, pathway (word-reading). As a
consequence, reaction times for incongruent trials are slower
compared to congruent trials.
ii. Explain Interference
a. Interference
i. The Stroop task is often used to measure cognitive control
(Stroop, 1935; see MacLeod, 1991, for a review). In the task,
participants are slower and/or make more mistakes in naming
the ink of a printed colour word when the ink name and the
printed word are incongruent (e.g., the word red printed in blue)
than when they are congruent (e.g., the word red printed in red).
ii. Thus, in cases where the printed word and the ink colour name
mismatch, participants need to inhibit the printed word in order
to accurately produce the colour name; in other words, the
magnitude of the Stroop effect depends on the extent to which
participants inhibit the semantic access of the printed word
(Wang, Fan, Liu, & Cai, 2016)
iii. Since word reading is a more prepotent response than color
naming in this situation (Melara and Algom, 2003), word naming
has the potential to interfere with color naming. In order to
prevent this interference, participants must attempt to inhibit, or
suppress, the incongruent word
1. Melara, R. D., and Algom, D. (2003). Driven by
information: a tectonic theory of Stroop effects. Psychol.
Rev. 110, 422471. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.110.3.422
iv. SI is typically obtained by calculating the difference in reaction
time between feature naming with irrelevant semantic content
and feature naming with an incongruent semantic distractor.
(Knight & Heinrich, 2017)
1. Knight, S., & Heinrich, A. (2017). Different measures of auditory and
visual stroop interference and their relationship to speech intelligibility in
noise. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.
v. As reading is a more practised task, the presentation of a word
evokes the associated task of reading. Thus, participants have to
suppress the task set of reading before enabling the relevant
task set (i.e., colour naming).
vi. The Stroop eect is based on the interaction of the stimuli and
response conicts, with the activation of dorsal anterior
cingulate cortex (ACC) and prefrontal cortex (Szcs & Soltesz,
2010). The electrophysiological studies revealed the possible
cognitive mechanism underlying the Stroop eect, that is,
Stroop colorword interference initially activates ACC (350 ms to
500 ms post-stimulus), followed by the activation of the left
temporo-parietal cortex possibly related to the need for the
additional processing of word meaning
1. Szcs, D. & Soltesz, F. (2010) Stimulus and response
conict in the colorword Stroop task: A combined electro-
myography and event-related potential study. Brain Res.,
1325, 6376.
vii. Task conflict is produced by the automatic tendency to read,
which is in the focus of interest of investigators of automaticity.
Several researchers (Rogers & Monsell, 1995; Waszak, Hommel,
& Allport, 2003) have suggested that a stimulus has the ability
to evoke the performance of a specific task strongly associated
with this stimulus. Commonly, words are associated more
strongly with the reading task than with the colornaming task.
Consequently, when one has to perform the less familiar color-
naming task, a (task) conflict arises between the required color-
naming and the automatically evoked word reading. This conflict
arises regardless of the congruence relation between the
meaning of the word and its color. Incongruent as well as
congruent stimuli activate representations of words, which at
the behavioral level O. Entel (&) J. Tzelgov Y. Bereby-Meyer N.
Shahar Department of Psychology and imply that if task conflict
exists, incongruent and congruent stimuli alike should be
processed slower than stimuli that do not evoke reading, that is,
task conflict-free, non-readable, non-word neutral stimuli.
Informational conflict (MacLeod, 1991) results from reading
incongruent words when asked to name their color. Performing
the two tasks provides contrasting information (e.g., when the
color of the word RED written in green has to be named, the
information conveyed by the irrelevant word RED contradicts the
relevant color information, i.e., green). Under such conditions,
performing the two tasks provides contrasting information (e.g.,
when the color of the word RED written in green has to be
named, the information conveyed by the irrelevant word RED
contradicts the relevant color information, i.e., green), each
requiring a different response
viii. Another component of inhibition is referred to as interference
control or selective inhibition, as proposed by the
activationsuppression hypothesis (Ridderinkhof, 2002). This type
of inhibition is specifically recruited to lower the activation of
strong competitors to a target response
ix. n. An important characteristic of selective inhibition is that it
takes time to be applied (e.g., Forstmann et al., 2008a, 2008b;
Ridderinkhof, 2002; Ridderinkhof, Scheres, Oosterlaan, &
Sergeant, 2005; see Proctor, Miles, & Baroni, 2011; Van den
Wildenberg et al., 2010, for reviews). Consequently, the effect of
selective inhibition should be more pronounced on slower than
on faster responses.
b. Congruence
i. Once neutral stimuli are included, the common behavioral
finding is that the reaction time (RT) to an incongruent stimulus
is slower than to a neutral (color-unrelated) stimulus (e.g.,
XXX written in red), while RT to a congruent stimulus is the
c. incongruence
a. The difference in the time for naming the colors in which the words are
printed and the same colors printed in squares (or swastikas) is the
measure of the interference of conflicting word stimuli upon naming
colors. (STROOP 1935)
b. The increase in time for reacting to words caused by the presence of
conflicting color stimuli is taken as the measure of the interference of
color stimuli upon reading words.
c. The increase in the time for reacting to colors caused by the presence
of conflicting word stimuli is taken as the measure of the interference
of word stimuli upon naming colors.
a. Brown (1915, p. 51) concluded "that the difference in speed between
color naming and word reading does not depend upon practice" but
that (p. 34) "the association process in naming simple objects like
colors is radically different from the association process in reading
printed words.
b. Different contexts
vi. Contradicting studies
vii. Research questions?
viii. Hypothesis?
ix. significance