Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 310–315 | Cite as

Filling a gap in the semantic gradient: Color associates and response set effects in the Stroop task

  • Evan F. Risko
  • James R. Schmidt
  • Derek Besner
Brief Reports


In the Stroop task, incongruent color associates (e.g., LAKE) interfere more with color identification than neutral words do (e.g., SEAT). However, color associates have historically been related to colors in the response set. Response set membership is an important factor in Stroop interference, because color words in the response set interfere more than color words not in the response set. It has not been established whether response set membership plays a role in the ability of a colorassociate to interfere with color identification. This issue was addressed in two experiments (one using vocal responses and one using manual responses) by comparing the magnitude of interference caused by color associates related to colors in the response set with that of interference caused by color associates unrelated to colors in the response set. The results of both experiments show that color associates unrelated to colors in the response set interfered with color identification more than neutral words did. However, the amount of interference was less than that from color associates that were related to colors in the response set. In addition, this pattern was consistent across response modalities. These results are discussed with respect to various theoretical accounts of Stroop interference.


Manual Response Stroop Task Color Word Neutral Word Stroop Effect 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evan F. Risko
    • 2
  • James R. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Derek Besner
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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