Controlling Stroop Interference: Evidence From a Bilingual Task Academic Article uri icon


  • Skilled performance is often associated with automaticity. Automatic processes are generally thought of as uncontrollable so that automaticity implies the lack of control. The Stroop Color and Word Test is one of the most cited examples of automaticity and uncontrollability of word reading. This task is also employed extensively to investigate the structure of the bilingual lexicon. The present work employed a Hebrew-Arabic bilingual Stroop task in 2 separate experiments. To induce controlled processing, the authors varied the Ss' expectations regarding the written (irrelevant) color words. The Stroop interference effect was always present, but Ss were able to control (reduce) it in their native language but not in their second language. In addition, the presumed structure of the bilingual lexicon seems to change in accordance with proficiency in the second language. It is suggested that automaticity and control are both characteristics of skilled performance with each of them reflecting a different aspect and each subserving a different function of our cognitive system. (

publication date

  • January 1, 1990