Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2008 May;34(3):514-23. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.34.3.514.

The Stroop effect: why proportion congruent has nothing to do with congruency and everything to do with contingency.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.


The item-specific proportion congruent (ISPC) effect refers to the observation that the Stroop effect is larger for words that are presented mostly in congruent colors (e.g., BLUE presented 75% of the time in blue) and smaller for words that are presented mostly in a given incongruent color (e.g., YELLOW presented 75% of the time in orange). One account of the ISPC effect, the modulation hypothesis, is that participants modulate attention based on the identity of the word (i.e., participants allow the word to influence responding when it is presented mostly in its congruent color). Another account, the contingency hypothesis, is that participants use the word to predict the response that they will need to make (e.g., if the word is YELLOW, then the response is probably "orange"). Reanalyses of data from L. L. Jacoby, D. S. Lindsay, and S. Hessels (2003), along with results from new experiments, are inconsistent with the modulation hypothesis but entirely consistent with the contingency hypothesis. A response threshold mechanism that uses contingency information provides a sufficient account of the data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center