Color Confusion…A “Did You Know” Service Announcement

Known as the Stroop Effect, after its inventor John Ridley Stroop (1935), the “trick” below is a bit of a colorful brain twister. The color names below are written in a variety of colors. Try reading the list out loud, as fast as you can. It’s harder than it looks. Your brain subsequently becomes confused because of the difference between reading the word and naming the color. Psychologists call the phenomenon interference.

Now try naming the colors of the words out loud, as fast as you can. Ignoring what the words say and paying attention only to the actual colors is a task most people find more difficult. It is harder to supress out well trained impulses to read what the word says–psychologists call this response inhibition. With practice the task gets easier, demonstrating our brain’s incredible ability to rewire itself.

Color Confusion

Want to take this brain twister a step further?

  1. Find the six words that correctly name the actual color the word is written in.
  2. Find the 12 words that correctly name the color of the following word or preceding word. Note: Consider that the word at the end of one line is followed by the word at the beginning of the next line.

Does your brain hurt yet? A color match game based on the Stroop Effect can be played on the game site While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the site’s other brain games and read interesting articles on how the brain works and tips for brain training.

Kim, Scott. “Color Confusion.” Neurology Now 6.3 (2010): 10. Print.

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