Friday, March 16, 2012

Stroop Test and Dreams

A long standing debate in the psychological literature is the notion that dreams do, or do not, have meaning for the dreamer. As the body of research literature evolved over time it became apparent that dream imagery was meaningful to the dreamer on many levels. How can the stroop test help researchers and participants understand that dreams are meaningful?

20 comments:

  1. The goal of the Stroop test is to determine how good someone is at paying attention to two different things at the same time. This would be particularly interesting for a lucid dreamer to take part in since they are able to divide their attention between the dreaming world and waking world.

    In terms of understanding the meaningfulness of dreams by using the Stroop test, it forces individuals to look beyond what is presented. The Stroop test calls to the fact that it takes time to learn new things, particularly if it interferes with already learned things, which dream work will help with finding the less obvious meaning. It takes time to accept that representations of objects or symbolism that are not common to the waking day problem/issue.

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  2. Just taking a wild guess..... but if there are salient words within the stroop test, or words that have meaning to the dreamer, it would impact the results for the stroop test. If participants are to read words that have no meaning, they are more likely to complete the stroop test more effectively, because they can concentrate more on naming the color of the words. However, if the words have meaning to the participant, they might be unconsciously distracted by the personal relevance, thus increasing the time it takes to perform the task.
    When we did the stroop test in class I noticed that I would do a double take when I saw the words which were relevant to me. I would struggle more to pronounce the color of the words, because I was anticipating saying the actual word. Like when the name of my boyfriend came up, or the name of my hometown, I struggled more with these words then with generic words within the test.
    This can help show dream content as meaningful because it displays how unconscious information can infiltrate conscious decision making. It also displays how we unconsciously associate items to waking day life situations.

    Grace Williamson

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  3. I remember from a previous course there was a study where they used the Stroop test. The task was to name the colour of the text while ignoring the meaning of the text. They found that depressed people took longer on the Stroop test when there were negative words involved. They were processing the words longer than controls.
    If a Stroop test can be an indicator of what sort of themes people pay attention to and dreams show the same themes then this indicates that dreams do show relevant themes and are not just disorganized nonsense. People pay attention to certain themes in waking life and this reflects in their dreams.

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  4. I think that Stroop test would help researchers and participants understand that dreams are meaningful in regards to how it might affect dream recall. I would think that individual's who are better at the Stroop test would recall more dreams because they are better at focusing on things. For example, if you are good at the Stroop test then you are able to easily focus on only saying the colour of the text, instead of being distracted by the actual words themselves. This may be an indicator of dream recall because individuals who are able to remember more of their dreams when they wake up are able to remain focused on the dream even after waking, which therefore stores it in memory. Individuals who are not good at the Stroop test may be more likely to forget their dreams because they are distracted by the more present and salient stimuli of reality after they wake up.

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  5. I think the stroop test can help us understand how dream imagery is meaningful by showing that we associate/connect words to various ideas and concepts in our neurological memory systems, and this gives us meaning in the words we see. The classic stroop test example showed how word meaning played a part in indicating what ink colour was presented. We tend to have a hard time indicating the ink colour presented when the actual word meaning conflicts with it (ink colour was blue, word was yellow).

    We can also see the impact of meaning in the stroop test when we consider the difference in reaction time in indicating ink colour when we are given words that have meaning to us compared to neutral words that have little personal meaning. As Grace pointed out, she experienced slower reaction times in indicating ink colour when she was presented with words that had greater meaning to her when compared to neutral words that had little personal meaning. These slower reaction times with meaningful words show that word associations to ideas and concepts play a big role in how our minds processes information.

    In relation to dreams being meaningful, since the mind uses word associations to give meaning to words in the stroop test, we should think that the mind does the same thing while it is processing information while sleeping. Thus, dream imagery (like words) also represents through associations different ideas and concepts in our mind. This would explain why TSM is so successful in providing meaning and discovery to the dreamer, since its linking dream imagery with associations to give meaning.

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  6. I recently found an article that included the influence of the stroop test on individuals who have lucid dreams. It was interesting to see that people who have lucid dreams are better at the stroop test than people who have lucid dreams less than once a month or never. Consistent with some of the comments above and the results of the experiment, researchers believe that because people who have frequent lucid dreams are able to divide their attention they are also better at stroop tests (a combination of two levels of cognition). In sum, the stroop test can help researchers and participants understand that dreams are meaningful because lucid dreaming involves taking the time to interpret what is dream imagery and what is waking day experiences. I agree that by showing that we can connect ideas and words, dream recall would be easier for individuals who have frequent lucid dreams. This is because they are better are deciphering between their dream and their waking day experiences (and remembering their dreams), and can apply this method to the stroop test. When looking at the word, but having to “read the colour”, lucid dreams are can then decipher better what is required and what is not.

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  7. Since the Stroop test determines implicit associations (meanings), it would be useful to compare a dreamer's discovery passages/ content analysis, etc. against Stroop category scores.
    This would be double-cool since dream images are not at the conscious level and Stroop categories aren't either. I am curious about how this may correlate to sub-categories of subjects (eg. depression) as mentioned in other comments.
    I am SO looking forward to the 'big reveal' at the last seminar to see how this all fits together. I am assuming that the data has been analyzed and is being attacked with correlations as I type.
    Psychology researchers are so inventive!

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  8. Everyone in the above comments for the most part can see the connection with Stroop Test and with dreaming (particularly lucid dreaming) I do not see this connection at all, I think your ability to complete the stroop test is just the working of your brain in a comprehension style and would not be related to your dreams. After class I was speaking to another student about the words that we read and I could not personally remember any one word that I may have read but she was able to recall several of them. I don't know why this is so confusing to me, but I think I would need more proof to see the connection of these two activities. I hope that will come in the last few weeks of class.

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  9. I agree with the previous comments made about the Stroop tests's importance in determining an individual's ability to split their attention level to ignore the words and attend to the colours. Most importantly, I agree that with the Stroop test, if there are salient and meaningful words that stand out to the subconscious mind, an individual is more likely to attend to the word rather than the colour. This is how the participant and researcher can help make meaningful connections between dream content and waking day feelings. I would assume that the more words that are attended to, the more connections there may be to understand specific emotions.

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  10. Stroop tests help to distinguish which words an individual is more sensitive to from a given word set, depending on what has occurred before the test is administered. This could be useful for researchers and participants in understanding how dreams are meaningful, as dreams may prime an individual to be more sensitive to certain words in a word set. This in turn would allow researchers and participants to have a better understanding of the subconscious meaning a dream may have in connection to the individual's waking day life.

    - Carey-Ann Bette

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  11. The stroop test can help researchers and participants understand the meaning behind their dreams because the subconscious mind pays more attention to words that stand out and have meaning for the dreamer. It would be assumed that people who have certain themes in their dreams would have a harder time distinguish between the word/colour when the word is a something that is meaningful to them. It would be interesting to see how certain dreams affect a person’s ability to distinguish between the colours and the words. People could also find certain colours easier to attend to, which could have implications for the types of dreams that the person is having.

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  12. The Stroop test is a commonly used test by researchers in psychology. It is used to measure things such as selective attention, cognitive flexibility and processing speed. When you look at the words you see its colour and its meaning. This test shows that you are not always in control of what you pay attention to. This is similar to dreaming as you are encouraged not to just look at the dream itself but through analysis to find the deeper meaning of the dream. Often symbols, objects or words could actually have a lot of meaning. The Stroop test could help researchers understand how we associate words to ideas and concepts. I think that the Stroop test would also help researchers learn about lucid dreaming and how the mind is able to do two things at the same time.

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  13. I believe that the Stroop Test can help to understand if dreams are meaningful by the words that are used. For instance, last week when we completed the Stroop Test I noticed that one trial included words from one of my dreams, where another trial was simply non-meaningful words. I believe that the type of words used would alter the time it takes one to complete the test, as this is what I found when completing seminar last week. Therefore, based on the words used I believe the Stroop Test could demonstrate meaning through the individual's ability to complete the test.

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  14. I think that the stroop test help researchers and participants understand that dreams are meaningful by presenting words with meanings (that remind them of their dreams) or words with no meanings I think that words with meanings are going to take longer than words that have no meaning. I think that this is because words with meaning that relate to our waking life we would get more distracted on, whereas words with little meaning, won’t get us as easily distracted.

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  15. Since the stroop test deals with colours and reaction speed, perhaps someone who responds faster would have more colour in their dreams, and happier dreams, and more dreams. likewise, those who respond slower may have less colour in their dreams and fewer or less pleasant dreams.

    melissa van grootel

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  16. I noticed briefly after completing the test that the given words were not colour words (only the ink was a different colour). I didn’t notice what the different words were but I’m assuming some of them had meaning to me. I’m also assuming that these salient words were more difficult to pass by, thus increasing the amount of time it took to complete a trial. In knowing this, the stroop test helps us understand that our dreams make associations based on important unconscious memories or emotions. Our dream imagery is linked to things that may be unconsciously important to us at the moment. There is some sensory information that is going make an impact on us (whether we know or not). If we can link these things from our waking day to our dream imagery then we will have a better understanding of how dream have personal meaning. This relates perfectly to the Story telling Method.

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  17. Maighan MackenzieMarch 22, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    The Stroop Test can help show that dreams have meaning because the Stroop Test is all about automatic processing and controlled processing. It is easier for the brain to read the words than to say the colour that it is written in. The hypothesis is that it takes longer to say the colour than it would just to read the word that is written. For dream interpretation and the Stroop Test, salient words from our dreams were written and we had to try to say the colour that it was written it. I believe that the list that took the longest to say would be the dream that has the most meaning in our waking day life. This would be possible because when we see the words that have meaning to us, we want to read them aloud instead of saying the colour, but if the words do not have meaning for our everyday life, then it would be easier to us to say the colour. Therefore, the longer it takes to finish the list of word colours, the more meaning that dream would have for the dreamer.

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  18. Since the Stroop test is useful in determining an individuals ability to split their attention, through choosing to ignore words and attending to colours, and it is timed, it can help the researcher and participant determine the dream that had the most meaning for the participant. For example, the longer the Stroop test took to complete, the more meaning those words/that dream would have for us. I agree with the above post from Maighan and agree that the words that have the most meaning for us will be the most tempting for us to say instead of the colour. This is because they are the most significant for us, and thus stand out. Similarly, I also agree that if the words are not of importance to us then it might be easier to say the colour like we are supposed to.

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  19. The Stroop performance test helps individuals use different cognitive aspects of their attention span. By using more attentional aspects, individuals can perform well on the Stroop task. Remembering a dream or analysis what a dream means takes a lot of concentration and cognition. The Stroop performance task can help individuals practice having superior concentration that they can then use to analyze their own dreams.

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  20. The Stroop Test may help researchers and participants understand that dreams are meaningful because the Stroop Test illustrates attention and concentration on verbally say a colour. We have to learn how to pay attention to certain things and ignore others. It becomes increasingly difficult to ignore a word if it has meaning for us. If there are words that have meaning to the reader consciously or subconsciously (salient) they will probably focus on the word more so than the colour and therefore their recall time will be longer. Just as we are pick out salient words from our dreams and make associations with them, for dream interpretations such as TSM worksheets. There shows that certain words, symbols, etc… have meaning whether we are aware of it or not and as such, your dream imagery is likely to have meaning attached it as well.

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