The sampling method used was opportunity sampling; the researcher used whichever participants were available to them. This sampling method was applied to a target population of 16-19 year olds at Richmond Upon Thames College. For this research 20 participants were used; 12 of these were boys while 8 were girls Procedure The researcher printed off six colour lists; three inconsistent and three consistent with the words. They then printed off the “answers” to the word list (to ensure the participant is saying the correct colours).
The researcher then shuffled the lists together then number them, not knowing which list is which (this will help avoid researcher bias). Following this, the researcher approached participants; the researcher went to specific parts of the college and chose the participants based on an opportunity sample (whoever was there at that time was chosen). The researcher then gave the participant each list while timing how look the list had taken to read and recording it.
Once one list had been given to a participant the second list will be given to the next participant, for example, if participant A had list 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 then participant B will have had lists 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1 Materials Wordlists (3 inconsistent with the colour of the word, 3 consistent with the colour of the word) Stopwatch Debriefing (see appendix 1) Standardised instructions (see appendix 2) Score sheet for researcher (see appendix 3) Results Table showing the mean and standard deviation of the consistent and inconsistent lists
Inconsistent List Consistent List Mean 11. 615 6. 365 Standard Deviation 2. 631144 1. 321632 The above results show a clear distinction in the time taken between the consistent and inconsistent list; the mean shows that the average difference between the lists was 5. 25 seconds. The standard deviation shows that there is little variance from the mean in both conditions but there is slightly more variance from then mean in the inconsistent list to the consistent list. This shows that more people found the inconsistent list more difficult.
The above bar graph represents a clear difference between the averages of all three lists; the inconsistent list always took significantly longer then the consistent list. This is further represented by the overall mean The Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks test The Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks test was used. This method was chosen because this test is designed for a hypothesis that predicts a difference between two sets of data, data that is a score (ergo related) and can be used with interval data.
This experiment satisfies all three of these criteria. Calculated value of T = 0 Critical Value of T at 5% level of significance = 60 The calculated value of T is less then the critical value of T, this supports the directional hypothesis. The directional hypothesis is therefore supported Participants take significantly longer to say colour words in a different colour to what the word is on a word list then when the colour word is in the same colour.
The null hypothesis is therefore rejected, there is a difference in the time taken for participants to say colour words in a different colour to what the word is on a word list then when the colour word is in the same colour. Discussion Explanation of Findings The research has shown a clear distinction between the time taken to say the inconsistent and consistent lists; it takes significantly longer to say the inconsistent list in comparison to the consistent list.
This difference is due to the participant not being able to control the automatic processing of reading the word so it conflicts with the controlled process of saying the colour of the word. It was also apparent that the group that find this task the most difficult is a student studying English; one English student was used in this sample (participant 11) and that individual was responsible for the longest time in the inconsistent list but very close to the mean in the consistent list.
This could point to further research in the future; do English students find it more difficult to break their automatic processes? An explanation as to why an English student was responsible for the longest time could be because English students may be more active readers so automatically read a given text, whereas other subjects rely less heavily on reading skills. This points to a further question – would people in creative subjects, such as Art have the quickest times (as this relies more heavily on appearance and creativity). Relationship to Background Research
Stroop (1935) carried out research in the same area and had similar findings; people will take longer to read the inconsistent list. However, there were many differences between the two pieces of research, one of these was the sample; Stroop’s research was based around adults and how they process information, this research was designed in the same way but to test how students can control their automatic processes, however, the results were still the same or similar; it was found that most people cannot control the automatic process of reading.
My research also agrees with Schiffrin and Schneider (1977) who claimed that automatic process are inflexible; as they have already been learnt they are difficult to change. This shows that the supervisory attentional system that Norman and Schallice identified does not always work; when people open the schema to identify and say the colour words contention scheduling does not stop the schema to read and say what the word says. Limitations and Modifications One limitation of this study is that some environments are noisier then others which may interfere with the findings of the research.
This research was carried out in a range of different places within the college at different times, this means that if a louder environment made it difficult to read the lists fast then the results will be skewed one way and can’t be generalised and are low in ecological validity, the results will only show how people behave within a noisy environment. This can be improved by making use of laboratory conditions; if the amount of noise could be controlled and kept similar for all participants it will make the results more valid.
A second limitation of the study is to do with the sampling method used; opportunity sampling was used within the college, the researcher adopted an opportunity sampling method. Opportunity sampling is usually unrepresentative of the target population and not generalisable because opportunity sampling provides no balance between social groups and anomalies; the researcher only chooses participants available to them, creating a bias sample.
This can be overcome by gathering a list of students within the college and using a different sampling technique such as random stratified which may provide a better balance between qualities such at ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. A final limitation of the study was people stopping or making mistakes; many participants began to laugh at themselves quietly or apologised, this meant that participants took longer then others that didn’t do this. A way to overcome this would be clearer instructions in the standardised instructions to what to do if someone makes a mistake.