When a specific behavior is done without any conscious direction, it can be seen as an automatic action. These automatic actions can be seen in everyday life. Whether this occurs by reading, or by playing a video game, there are actions that an individual may do in which they are not consciously aware of. To explore properties of automatic behaviors cognitive psychologists often put observers in a situation where an automatized response is in conflict with the desired behavior. This allows researchers to test the behind the scenes properties of automatized behaviors by noting their influence on more easily measured behaviors. One particular demonstration that explores automatic behaviors is the Stroop Experiment.
In a particular experiment done by John Ridley Stroop, it was noted that observers were slower to correctly identify the color of ink when the ink was used to produce color names different from the ink itself. This was interesting finding because observers were told to not pay any attention to the word names and simply report the color of the ink. However, this seems to be a nearly impossible task, as the name of the word seems to interfere with the observer's ability to report the color of the ink. This inability to correctly name the color of the ink and disregard word names is known as the stroop effect. The stroop effect is viewed as the interference when undertaking a task and this term was first coined by Ridley Stroop in 1935. The experiment setup had individuals reading the colors of ink that came up on their visual field. There would be ink that came up that either corresponded with words of that ink color or words of another ink color. The aim for the participant was to quickly say the name of the ink color of the word and ignore reading the word.
The hypothesis for the experiment was the average time taken to read neutral words is less than the time taken to read color words that portray the stroop effect. This...