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The Effect Of Primary And Secondary Colors On Our Perception Time - The Stroop Effect

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Introduction Background Research 3

Rationale 4

Aim 4

Hypothesis 4

Methodology Method and design 6

Variables 6

Participants 6

Apparatus 7

Procedure 7

Controls 8

Results Summary table 9

Commentary on summary table 9

Additional Graphical description of Results 10

Descriptive Statistics Comments 11

Relationship to the Hypothesis 11

Discussion Validity 12

Improving validity 13

Reliability 13

Improving reliability 14

Implications of the study 14

Generalisation of findings 15

Application to everyday life 16

Bibliography 17

Appendices Appendix A 18

Appendix B 19

Appendix C 20



In this experiment, I investigated the effect of certain colors on our �perception time’. I used the �Stroop Effect’ as a method for measuring the �perception time’.

The earliest findings on the subject of вЂ?Perception of colors’ came from the incident involving вЂ?Turner on Vanishing Day 1846, Sheffield City Gallery’. Turner’s act on вЂ?vanishing day’ of altering his paintings into glorious colors as opposed to monochrome by his competitors proved the important point that; colour is likely to form a very lasting impression on its viewers. The colour red was in particular important in this context as proved by the вЂ?red buoy’ incident вЂ" spectators were drawn to the painting of the red buoy rather than any other paintings (which also had some color in then), because Turner had included the colour red in his painting. This theory was later fully explained by biological developments which showed that the human eye contains receptors called cones which initially respond to specific wavelengths of red, green and blue ( all the primary colors first). Therefore it was not surprising in Turner’s painting that the colour red, attracted more attention than other colors.

This biological theory is related to cognitive psychology because the research involves �perception’ of colors (e.g. the color red), and perception is a cognitive function. The concept of the �human brain recognizing certain colors before others’ can be demonstrated by the Stroop Effect’. Initially, the Stroop Effect deals with the cognitive process of people identifying the colors of color words. In the original experiment demonstrating the Stroop Effect, which was conducted by J. Ridley Stroop in 1935, Stroop administered 2 main tests to compare his results. In test 1, participants were required to say the color names presented in corresponding colors and in test 2, participants required to say the conflicting colors of the color names (e.g.. �pink’ was written in red and they had to say red). Stroop found out that there was a large increase in the time taken by participants to say the conflicting colors of the color names. Stroop thought that this interference was caused by the automatization of reading, where the mind automatically reads the word, and then must override this first impression so that it can identify of the color referred by the word. This means that naming the color of the color name when it’s presented in a conflicting color is a process which is cognitive and not automatized.

Since the original experiment in 1935, there have been further investigations to test different variations of the Stroop effect. One of which is the study conducted by Flowers et al. in 1979. In this study participants were given 10 rows of numbers where each row had same numbers - e.g. 1st row вЂ" 2 2 2; 2nd row вЂ" 3 3 . Then they were asked to count the numbers in each row, not read them out. It was found that people have difficulty in resisting saying the numbers that make up each row rather than counting them This is because reading of numbers is much more automated than counting them.

In both the experiments of 1935 and 1979, it is established that reading is an automatic process where the mind automatically reads the number/word and then it has to do �thinking’ (a cognitive process) to count the numbers/ to process the colors that the color names are written in. This can be used as a measure for cognitive processing on �perception’ because given that identifying the color that the color name is written in is a cognitive process, then we can look at how long (presumably in seconds) this process takes. Going back to Turner Painting Incident about certain colors being more attractive (e.g.. the color red), we can test this concept to see if different colors have different cognitive processing times on the brain- by using the Stroop effect as a measurement for cognitive processing.


I find the Stroop Effect very interesting as it gives an insight to how fast our cognition may be and hence I personally wanted to experiment with it. Therefore I will replicate Stroop’s 1935 study; though our aims will be different. Much of Stroop Effect studies in the past have focused on the basic principle that, �reading is an automatic process, and that color naming involves deeper processing’ However in my experiment I want to explore a new area and focus on the �color’ aspect of the study. Building on the findings from the �Turner on Vanishing Day’



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