Think the thought, walk the walk - Social priming reduces the Stroop effect

Liat Goldfarb, Daniela Aisenberg, Avishai Henik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the Stroop task, participants name the color of the ink that a color word is written in and ignore the meaning of the word. Naming the color of an incongruent color word (e.g., RED printed in blue) is slower than naming the color of a congruent color word (e.g., RED printed in red). This robust effect is known as the Stroop effect and it suggests that the intentional instruction - " do not read the word" - has limited influence on one's behavior, as word reading is being executed via an automatic path. Herein is examined the influence of a non-intentional instruction - " do not read the word" - on the Stroop effect. Social concept priming tends to trigger automatic behavior that is in line with the primed concept. Here participants were primed with the social concept " dyslexia" before performing the Stroop task. Because dyslectic people are perceived as having reading difficulties, the Stroop effect was reduced and even failed to reach significance after the dyslectic person priming. A similar effect was replicated in a further experiment, and overall it suggests that the human cognitive system has more success in decreasing the influence of another automatic process via an automatic path rather than via an intentional path.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • Automaticity
  • Control
  • Social priming
  • Stroop task

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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