Memory & Cognition

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 166–174

When it helps to be misled: Facilitative effects of increasing the frequency of conflicting stimuli in a Stroop-like task

  • Gordon D. Logan
  • N. Jane Zbrodoff

DOI: 10.3758/BF03197535

Cite this article as:
Logan, G.D. & Zbrodoff, N.J. Memory & Cognition (1979) 7: 166. doi:10.3758/BF03197535


Three experiments are reported that involve responding to the meaning or position of a word (Above or Below) presented above or below a fixation point. Position and word meaning conflicted (Above/below or Below/above) or were compatible (Above/above or Below/below), and the relative frequency of conflicting trials was varied. Experiment 1 required responses to the word and its position. Compatibility and frequency had no effect in the spatial task, but interacted strongly in the word task: Compatible stimuli were processed faster when conflicting trials were rare (20% conflicting), but conflicting stimuli were processed faster when they were frequent (80% conflicting). Experiments 2 and 3 used the word task only and extended these findings to intermediate (20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% conflicting) and more extreme (10%, 20%, 80%, and 90% conflicting) frequencies, respectively. The advantage for conflicting stimuli when they were frequent was taken as evidence for a strategy involving dividing attention between reported and unreported dimensions.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon D. Logan
    • 1
  • N. Jane Zbrodoff
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Erindale CollegeUniversity of TorontoMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Applied PsychologyOntario Institute for Studies in EducationTorontoCanada