Hypnosis can stop Stroop effect

This Is Your Brain Under Hypnosis – New York Times

Very interesting stuff. Subjects were hypnotized and told that days later they would see “gibberish” symbols printed in particular colors. They needed to report back the color that the word appeared in. (For those unfamiliar, the Stroop test presents color words, like “red”, in a different color, such as the word “red” written with green ink. People have difficulty reporting the color of the word because we have a strong need to “read” the written word.)

The highly hypnotizable subjects (grouped according to a predetermined measure) essentially showed no Stroop effect (ie. no reaction time difference with conflicting word and color). And, with fMRI, they saw that normally activated visual-reading areas were not activated in these subjects.

2 thoughts on “Hypnosis can stop Stroop effect

  1. A followup article shows that a similar effect can be had by suggestion alone, without hypnosis.

    This deflates the usefulness of the original article as evidence that hypnosis is “real”, however, it is interesting in another respect; it means that the Stroop effect is less hard-wired/obligatory than usually thought, and can be dialed down by ordinary top-down processing.

    Amir Raz, Irving Kirsch, Jessica Pollard, Yael Nitkin-Kaner (2006)
    Suggestion Reduces the Stroop Effect
    Psychological Science 17 (2), 91–95.


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