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The study is conducted to determine how facilitation and interference of numbers bring about the Stroop effect among individuals that participated in the study. The study involved students from Florida Atlantic University who were told to read batches of numbers in compliance with certain conditions, and their reaction time was recorded. The batches included congruent numbers, incongruent numbers, and two other batches for control. The time used to name the congruent numbers was expected to be shorter than the time used to name incongruent numbers; this is because naming the numbers (congruent counting) requires automatic processing, which is fast and involuntary while naming the quantities (incongruent counting) requires controlled processing, which needs a lot of keenness and effort.
The Stroop effect was first observed in the 1930s by John Ridley Stroop, a professor in psychology, whereby he found a difference between the interpretation response type of the corresponding and the noncorresponding stimuli. Professor Stroop conducted the first study on the Stroop effect in 1935; the study was based on interference whereby he interfered with the stimuli. He asked the study participants to read a batch of words written in the same color as the words and another batch where the color was conflicting with the word. The study stated a difference in the time of reading the congruent batch and the incongruent batch. The study further confirmed that the practice of reading these batches of words reduced the difference in time but did not eliminate it (Stroop, 1935).
The Stroop effect is a lag in the response period between the corresponding and noncorresponding pairs of stimuli (MacLeod, 1991). When the definition of a particular word and the color in which it is typed is similar, this is referred to as “corresponding stimuli.” Take, for example, a word such as “yellow” written in yellow color. However, in noncorresponding stimuli, the definition of the word is not similar to the color in which it has been printed. For instance, the word “blue” is typed or printed using yellow ink. The variation in response time between spontaneous and controlled information processing causes the Stroop effect, whereby the labels of words collide with the capacity to identify the color of ink used to type or express the words. The Stroop effect is significant in an individual’s life. It affects our ability to process different stimuli, either congruent or incongruent.
A study was conducted using a group of numeral batches and two conditions: the first condition was that participants were required to name the numbers despite the quantity of the numbers. In contrast, the second condition needed the participants to name the quantities of the numbers. The study stated a difference in the time of reading the number written in similar quantity as the number and reading the quantities written in numbers different from the quantities. The time for reading the numbers was shorter than the time for stating the quantities (Windes, 1968).
Another study corresponded to the original Stroop study, which involved three batches that is congruent (the same color as a word), neutral, and incongruent (the color word printed in a different color). The study concluded that reading accuracy for the colors was improved when a similar color label was used, compared to the traditional Stroop theory and the neutral control condition. Furthermore, based on its results, the research suggests that the Stroop effect is predominantly an output phenomenon instead of an input one. Stroop effecting results from a lag in brain processing of the incongruent batches to come up with an accurate answer (Hintzman et al., 1972). Neuroscience professionals did another study to determine if the Stroop effect is caused by brain stimulation; the study confirmed brain activity associated with the Stroop effect (Liu et al., 2015).
The interference in color naming improves with practice, while the facilitation does not have much improvement. Younger adults took a shorter time naming the color-coded words, and improvement was shown in both younger and older adults (Davidson et al., 2003). Interference in any experiment related to Stroop theory is powerful; the interference is caused when a color naming is written in a different color, for example, green written in purple. On the other hand, facilitation is whereby the reader finds it easy to read the words because they are written in words similar to the name, such as yellow coded in yellow (Macleod, 2015).
Facilitation goes hand with automatic processing whereby one is not required to pay much attention; they read instinctively and involuntarily. Controlled processing is where one needs to take a closer look and make an effort. For example, one needs to be keen to color words written in different colors as their name (Controlled vs. Automatic Processing: Definition & Difference, 2016). The Stroop effect has been a very significant basis of research in psychology, not only in cognitive psychology but also in clinical psychology.
This study is used to determine the Stroop effect caused by facilitation and interference using numerical values in students. The study also aims to explain the difference between automatic processing and controlled learning the improvements that can be made in both types of processing. Facilitation is done by asking the participant to state the number despite the quantity, but it is easier since the quantity of the number is similar to the counting number.; for example, 22, the participant would say two. Interference is when the participant is asked to name quantities; for example, 1111, the participant is supposed to say four. It is easy to name the number rather than the quantity.
The Independent variable is the variable that does not change. In this study, the independent variable is the congruency of the content and numbers. The congruency of the counting numbers cannot be changed by any other variables. The dependent variable, however, is the variable that varies with changes on the independent variable; in this case, the study’s dependent variable is time. The time of naming the counting numbers varies or changes depending on the congruency of the numbers; as the congruency decreases, the reaction time increases.
The study participants are asked to read out the numbers in two conditions. Firstly, the participants are required to name the numbers despite the quantity of the numbers(facilitation), while in the second condition, participants name the quantities of the numbers(interference). The study records the difference between the reaction time of the congruent batch of numbers and the incongruent batch of numbers. Incongruent Counting Digits was as follows (2222, 3333,111, 44, 1, 44, 33, 444, 3, 1111, 2, 1111, 44, 222, 444, 3333, 2, 11, 44). The student was told to name the quantity of the numbers regardless of the name of the counting number; this caused interference to the brain’s normal automatic functioning as the numbers were written in different counting digits as the quantity. Congruent Counting Digits was as follows (1, 4444, 4444, 333, 333, 22, 4444, 4444, 4444, 1, 4444,22, 22, 1, 4444, 1, 333). The student was told to name the number regardless of quantity. It was easier to name the numbers because the quantity of the numbers was the same as the name of the counting number; this is also known as facilitation.
When naming the congruent counting digits, the reaction time will be less than when naming the incongruent counting digits. The reaction time increases as the congruency decreases. Naming the numbers which are written in the same quantity as the counting number (congruent counting) requires automatic processing, which is fast and involuntary, while naming the quantities of numbers that are not the same as the counting number (incongruent counting) requires controlled processing, which needs a lot of keenness and effort. Therefore, the time that is used to recognize and name the congruent numbers is shorter than the time used by the student to recognize and name the incongruent for example naming the quantity of 3, it easier to recognize the number as three, but it takes a lot of keenness to name the quantity of 3 which is 1 in this case.
Notably, the purpose of the methods section is to evaluate, replicate, and encourage a broader impact such as further research. The methodology section enhances the research validity, reliability, and quality. These elements ensure that the study is consistent with the research question, is reputable, and can be replicated accurately. The methods section, therefore, includes a detailed description of the participants and the sampling process, the materials used, and procedure to allow replication of the study if need arises.
Considering the fact that this experiment was conducted in class, there was no need to use rigorous sampling methods to get a suitable sample from the university population as a whole. Rather, the class became the default sample size with a population of eighty eight (n=88) of which females were more than three times the male population at 70 and 18 respectively. In terms of their ages, this group depicted a wide range in the participant’s ages which was between 16 and 49 years. The mean age of the average respondent in this study was 21.1 years. The participants were all undergraduate students with everyone taking part in both the experiment and the recording of results. The setting of the test was in a class.
Notably, the simplicity of this project meant that it only used a minimal amount of materials. A stop watch was among the main experimental materials that were required of every participant, with the smart phone stop watch also counting as a legitimate watch. The stop watch was used to measure the participant’s reaction time, specifically recording the time needed by the individual to count the provided list individually. In fact, the list was also another crucial material for the exercise. Notably, this list contained four different lists of different quantities and numbers all of which had to be read and the reaction time noted for the two partners interchangeably. The list involved diverse problems to test the participants. The no interference lists included a list of naming and counting condition while the interference lists included those with an incongruent counting condition and others with a congruent appearance. The incongruent lists counted as the interference while the congruent ones were needed to pay the facilitation process. The ‘within-subject approach used in this research made sure that every class member took performed the experiment and took part in equal measures to achieve a common goal.
The procedure of the study was the most important part in the method section, since it allows other like-minded researchers to investigate the infamous Stroop effects in a numerical and quantifiable context. A simple procedure posted on the manual required the students to divide themselves randomly before receiving a ‘parcel’. After collecting a parcel, every individual was expected to write the age and gender of their fellow participant and kept showing the card until they were prompted to move to the next page. The time to complete the tasks were recorded for each set and when the experiment was over, the participants would switch and reload the entire process for maximum results.
The procedure encompassed the active use of the available people to conduct a scientific study based on preset inferences. Ideally, the participants of the study were asked to read out numbers which were arranged in two conditions. The first set of required the reader to read only the numbers without necessarily despite the quantity of the said numbers. This was called facilitation. Similarly, the second condition required the participants to provide the quantities of the numbers as an inference. The reaction times measured when the subject was reading congruent numbers and incongruent numbers were recorded and so was the reaction when counting congruent numbers. The four-step process entailed naming the numbers as fast as possibly possible They then counted the number of rows as fast as they could and the results recorded separately. Thirdly, they counted the digits of each row as quickly as possible and the results recorded just as with the other two. The last step was to count the numbers in digits present in each row, with the partner recording all these reaction times. After this step the two participants were then required to exchange where the process would be repeated by the other person while recording the results.
A few things worth noting about the experimental design is that there were four lists. These were a naming condition without interference, a counting condition with no interference, and congruent counting condition, and an incongruent counting condition. The spatial characteristics of the word lists were that they had 32 numbers in every list, were presented in a column, and printed in different sheets of paper. The design characteristics included a randomized number list on every list. The design was same across every participant. It is also important to note that the independent variables were the four levels namely incongruent, congruent, counting, and reading. On the other hand, the dependent variables were the reaction times exhibited by each of the participants.
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