Cognitive Psychology – the Interference Theory

Cognitive psychology concerns itself with the structure and functions of the mind. Cognitive psychologists are involved in finding out how the human mind comes to know things about the world and how it uses this knowledge. Cognitive neuroscience combines the knowledge about the brain with knowledge about cognitive processes. Ulric Neisser (1967) has defined all cognition as all the processes by which sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered and used. The mind can be seen as a set of mental processes taking place in the brain.

So Cognition is based on ones mental representations of the world. One of the principles of cognitive psychology is that human beings are information processors and mental processes guide behavior. So when we process information we tend to make connections and store theses connections in form of memory. However, we have difficulty in remembering things when one memory or thought interferes in some way with the memory we are trying to recall. This is most pronounced when two different responses are associated by the same stimulus. This is called the interference theory.

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This theory was suggested by Loftus (1900). In addition to that, the interference theory can be supported by the pattern recognition theory, which Neisser (1964) proved by carrying out a visual search experiment where he presented to his participants blocks of letters where they had to find the specific target block as quickly as possible. The independent variable was the condition where the target letter shared similar features with the surrounding background letters. This idea was reconfirmed when Reicher, (1969) and Wheeler, (1970) carried out a similar experiment on word superiority effect.

They found that letters were identified more rapidly within a word than in a string of unrelated letters. Moreover, Rucueckl and Oden (1986) got similar pattern with words alone versus words in sentences. All these experiments show how the connections in the brain are formed. The interference effect has also been tested by a lot of Psychologists. J. Ridley Stroop (1935) named the interference of serial verbal reactions, the stroop effect. In this experiment he observed the effect of interfering color stimuli upon reading names of colors serially.

The participants were required to read from a list of different color words written in the same color font. Then they had to read a list of different color words written in contradictory color fonts. During both experiments, the time was recorded. I have chosen to replicate J. R. Stroops’ (1935) in my research because it is relevant to investigate if the interference effect is actually consistent as they found it to be. Due to the theories mentioned above, the aim of this experiment is to investigate the effect of different font colors on word recognition time on IST students.

Ho null hypothesis: There will be no statistically significant difference in time recognition between the font colors H1 research hypothesis: There will be a significant increase in recognition time in a color word written in a contradictory color compared to one that is written in a matching color.


http://library. thinkquest. org/C0110291/science/forget/interference http://lamar. colostate. edu/~bclegg/PY453/pattern_recognition. pdf http://www. alleydog. com/cognotes/patrecog. html

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Cognitive Psychology – the Interference Theory. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from