Semantic Conflict and Response Conflict in the Stroop Task

Alexey Starodubtsev

Department of Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, Russia

Mikhail Allakhverdov

Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russia

Abstract

The most common ways researchers explain the Stroop effect are either through semantic or through response conflict. According to the literature, there are several methods capable of disentangling these conflicts: to use words outside of the response set, to use associatively related colors and words, or to use a “2:1” paradigm (requiring the same response for two types of stimuli). However, we believe that these methods cannot entirely differentiate semantic and response conflicts. We propose the following alternative method: when naming the color of a printed word (e.g., red, yellow, etc.) in the Stroop test, participants were asked to use different color names for some colors. For example, the red-colored stimuli had to be named by the word “yellow”. This approach allowed us to create semantically congruent stimuli, but with the conflict at the response level (the word red appears in red, but the participants have to say “yellow” because of the rule). Some stimuli remain congruent at the response level, but with the conflict at the semantic level (the word yellow appears in red, and the participants have to say “yellow” because of the rule). The results showed that semantically congruent stimuli do not produce the Stroop effect even if the meaning of the word corresponds to an incorrect response. In turn, congruence at the response level reduces the interference effect, but interference remains significant. Thus, the response conflict affects the magnitude of the Stroop effect only when there is a semantic conflict. Our data do not correspond to models that assume direct activation of responses corresponding to word meaning.

Keywords: Stroop test, interference, semantic conflict, response conflict, automaticity, attention

Article language: English, Russian

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АРА Style:

Starodubtsev, A., & Allakhverdov, M. (2019). Semantic Conflict and Response Conflict in the Stroop Task. The Russian Journal of Cognitive Science, 6(4), 24–38.

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Article 'Semantic Conflict and Response Conflict in the Stroop Task' by Alexey Starodubtsev, Mikhail Allakhverdov is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

 
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ISSN 2313-4518
Russian mass media certificate: ЭЛ № ФС 77 – 57220