Skip to main content

Differences between Chinese morphosyllabic and German alphabetic readers in the Stroop interference effect

Abstract

The goal of our study was to localize the source of the stronger Stroop interference effect found in morphosyllabic readers as compared with alphabetic readers. Twenty-three Chinese and 24 German undergraduate students were tested in a Stroop paradigm with the following stimuli: color patches, colorneutral words (e.g.,friend printed in yellow), incongruent color-associated words (e.g.,blood printed in blue), and incongruent color words (e.g.,yellow printed in blue). Results revealed no differences in German and Chinese students’ response times to color patches. Chinese participants, however, showed longer color naming latencies for neutral words as well as for color words and color-related words. No differences between German and Chinese participants were found when print color latencies for neutral words were subtracted from print color latencies for color words and color-related words. This result does not support theories which suggest that for morphosyllabic readers there is a direct route from orthography to the semantics of a word. We rather argue, with reference to dual route models of reading, that access from print to phonology is faster for morphosyllabic than for alphabetic readers, and therefore interference caused by conflicting phonologies of color name and written word will be stronger in Chinese readers than in German readers.

References

  • Biedermann, I., &Tsao, Y. C. (1979). On processing Chinese ideographs and English words: Some implications from Stroop-test results.Cognitive Psychology,11, 125–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Caramazza, A., Costa, A., Miozzo, M., &Bi, Y. (2001). The specificword frequency effect: Implications for the representation of homophones in speech production.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,27, 1430–1450.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chen, H. C. (1987). Character detection in reading Chinese: Effects of context and display format.Chinese Journal of Psychology,29, 45–50.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen, H. C., &Shu, H. (2001). Lexical activation during the recognition of Chinese characters: Evidence against early phonological activation.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,8, 511–518.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coltheart, M. (2000). Dual routes from print to speech and dual routes from print to meaning: Some theoretical issues. In A. Kennedy, R. Radach, D. Heller, & J. Pynte (Eds.),Reading as a perceptual process (pp. 475–490). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Coltheart, M., Rastle, K., Perry, C., Langdon, R., &Ziegler, J. (2001). DRC: A dual route cascaded model of visual word recognition and reading aloud.Psychological Review,108, 204–256.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coltheart, M., Woollams, A., Kinoshita, S., &Perry, C. (1999). A position-sensitive Stroop effect: Further evidence for a left-to-right component in print-to-speech conversion.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,6, 456–463.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gerhand, S. (2001). Routes to reading: A report of a non-semantic reader with equivalent performance on regular and exception words.Neuropsychologia,39, 1473–1484.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoosain, R. (1991).Psycholinguistic implications for linguistic relativity: A case study of Chinese. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keele, S. W. (1972). Attention demands of memory retrieval.Journal of Experimental Psychology,93, 245–248.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klein, G. S. (1964). Semantic power measured through the interference of words with color-naming.American Journal of Psychology,77, 576–588.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leck, K. J., Weekes, B. S., &Chen, M. J. (1995). Visual and phonological pathways to the lexicon: Evidence from Chinese readers.Memory & Cognition,23, 468–476.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, T. M. C., &Chan, C. C. H. (2000). Stroop interference in Chinese and English.Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology,22, 465–471.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1999). Models of word production.Trends in Cognitive Sciences,3, 223–232.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • MacLeod, C. M. (1991). Half a century of research on the Stroop effect: An integrative review.Psychological Bulletin,109, 163–203.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Monsell, S., Taylor, T. J., &Murphy, K. (2001). Naming the color of a word: Is it responses or task sets that compete?Memory & Cognition,29, 137–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Perfetti, C. A., &Tan, L. H. (1998). The time-course of graphemic, phonological, and semantic activation in Chinese character identification.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,24, 101–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Perfetti, C. A., &Zhang, S. (1991). Phonological processes in reading Chinese words.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,17, 633–643.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sasanuma, S., Sakuma, N., &Kitano, K. (1992). Reading Kanji without semantics: Evidence from a longitudinal study of dementia.Cognitive Neuropsychology,9, 465–486.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sharma, D., &McKenna, F. P. (1998). Differential components of the manual and vocal Stroop tasks.Memory & Cognition,26, 1033–1040.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shen, D., &Forster, K. (1999). Masked phonological priming in reading Chinese depends on the task.Language & Cognitive Processes,14, 429–460.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shu, H., &Anderson, R. C. (1997). Role of radical awareness in the character and word acquisition of Chinese children.Reading Research Quarterly,32, 78–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, M. C., &Kirsner, K. (1982). Language and orthography as irrelevant features in colour-word and picture-word Stroop interference.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,34A, 153–170.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spinks, J. A., Liu, Y., Perfetti, C. A., &Tan, L. H. (2000). Reading Chinese characters for meaning: The role of phonological information.Cognition,76, B1-B11.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions.Journal of Experimental Psychology,18, 643–662.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taft, M., &van Graan, F. (1998). Lack of phonological mediation in a semantic categorization task.Journal of Memory & Language,38, 203–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhou, X., &Marslen-Wilson, W. (1999). Phonology, orthography, and semantic activation in reading Chinese.Journal of Memory & Language,41, 579–606.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elsbeth Stern.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Saalbach, H., Stern, E. Differences between Chinese morphosyllabic and German alphabetic readers in the Stroop interference effect. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 11, 709–715 (2004). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196624

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196624

Keywords

  • Color Word
  • Neutral Word
  • Stroop Effect
  • Naming Latency
  • Color Patch