Sunday, November 7, 2010

Psychologist “honored” on toilet paper

Every introduction to psychology text of the last 50 years explains the groundbreaking work of John Ridley Stroop who, for his doctoral dissertation in 1933, described the phenomena of cognitive interference. First published in 1935, Stoop showed that the human brain has a tendency to be “tricked” and that this tendency is measurable.

In Stroop’s experiment, subjects were shown words that were printed in color. When the ink color did not match the word, the subject tended to read the word incorrectly.

For example, if you are asked to name the ink color of the following words:
Your confusion when answering the question of color is noticeable while your brain sorts out the printed word “red” from the color “green.”

Cognitive tests based on Stroop’s work are still used today. The amount of time it takes to answer the question of ink color versus written printed word can be used as a measure of mental fitness. As our society ages, this non invasive mental evaluation is being used increasingly as part of mental status exams.

On the assumption that mental exercises can help stave off mental aliments, game manufacturers have incorporated Stroop’s research in to modern electronic games. Nintendo sells "Brain Age" with the slogan "Train your brain in minutes a day!" It features a version a Stroop test.

A novelty company in England has added the Stroop test to toilet paper called, Mind Trainer Toilet Paper. Their slogan is “Train your brain as you drain."

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