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Psychon Bull Rev. 2009 Dec;16(6):987-99. doi: 10.3758/PBR.16.6.987.

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

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  • 1University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


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.

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