, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 987-999

Stroop and picture—word interference are two sides of the same coin


This article presents a cognitive model that reconciles a surprising observation in the picture—word interference (PWI) paradigm with the general notion that PWI is a form of Stroop interference. Dell’Acqua, Job, Peressotti, and Pascali (2007) assessed PWI using a psychological refractory period (PRP) paradigm, and concluded that the locus of interference in PWI is during the perceptual encoding stage. Stroop interference, on the other hand, is generally attributed to response selection. Based on these findings it was argued that PWI is not a Stroop effect. The present article discusses an alternative interpretation of these results. We assume that both effects are caused by the same interference mechanism, but that the processing speed associated with the different stimuli (colors vs. words) accounts for the previously reported differences. We support this argument by presenting a single computational model that accounts for both PWI and Stroop phenomena in single task and PRP settings.

The research reported here is an extension of work presented at the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (van Maanen & van Rijn, 2008). This research was financially supported by the NWO ToKeN/I2RP project (Grant 634.000.002).