Gender & The Stroop Effect

Gender and the Stroop Effect Elementary and Middle School Science Fair Project
Photo Source: Eric H. Chudler, University of Washington

Check out the picture above. As fast as you can, DO NOT read each word, rather try naming the color of each word. It's a little harder than you thought, right? This strange phenomenon, known as the Stroop Effect in honor of it's discoverer, J. Ridley Stroop, shows that the words themselves - and the meanings we attach to them - have a strong influence on our ability to say the color of the word. Sarah, eight grade entrant in the 2009 California State Science Fair, wondered if gender had any effect on an individuals ability to complete this task.

She administered 3 computerized tests to 100 female student volunteers and 100 male student volunteers. As a control, her first two tests timed color recognition and word recognition, while her last test exposed participants to the Stroop Effect.

Be sure to check out Sarah's full entrance application, including results and conclusions! Also, for more information on the Stroop Effect, as well as an example interactive Stroop Effect experiment, we suggest visiting Neuroscience for Kids!