Memory & Cognition

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 752-758

First online:

Phonology in the bilingual Stroop effect

  • Hiromi SumiyaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Colorado
  • , Alice F. HealyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Colorado Email author 


In a bilingual Stroop task, we examined between-language interference among proficient Japanese— English bilingual speakers. Participants named ink colors either in Japanese or in English. The Japanese color terms were either phonologically similar to (i.e., loan words) or dissimilar from (i.e., traditional color terms) English color terms. For both response languages, a significant between-language Stroop effect was found despite the orthographic dissimilarity between the languages. The magnitude of the between-language interference was larger with the phonologically similar terms. These findings implicate direct links connecting phonologically similar matching words in the lexicons of proficient bilingual speakers of dissimilar languages and imply that phonological processing in lexical access occurs even when the access is done unintentionally.