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The Stroop Effect: The Persistent Power of Prior Knowledge

by: Thomas O'Brien

If learners are asked to state, as fast as they can, the colors of a sequence of words that appear in different colors than the colors named, the first inclination of most is to read the words rather than naming the colors in which the words are printed—this inclination is called the Stroop Effect. In this case prior knowledge of reading interferes with the ability to focus on color. In this activity, a prior knowledge-assessment task “mismatch” is used as a visual participatory analogy for the idea of science misconceptions. In many cases commonly held misconceptions have historical antecedents that took scientists many years to replace. If teachers intentionally activate and challenge such misconceptions, the misconceptions can be modified or replaced.


Elementary SchoolMiddle SchoolHigh School


Type Book ChapterPub Date 3/1/2010Stock # PB271X_28

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