Uses for the #strooptest when teaching!

I use it many ways – sometimes just for some humour.
However in #negotiationmasterclasses it’s a great example of how you have to stop and take a time out to see things clearly. Stop to make sure you have done your preparation and stop and make sure you look the part.
I then use it for left and right brain examples and some team work fun as well. The question is simple “Look at the chart and say the colour not the word”. It’s very difficult not to get sucked into saying the word and this for several reasons. When I am teaching I use it for two reasons. Try it yourself and then take a look at how I use it.

There are three points

  1. To show the left brain (words) are dominant and you have to stop and consciously think before you can say the colour (right brain)The learning point is that if we keep running faster than we can think; we do things in left brain mode unconsciously with out thinking through the consequences. We need to stop, take a break, a time out, go for a 5 minute fresh air walk and smell the spring, look at the daffodils and stretch our hunched backs away from our computers our desks etc etc. Do this once every hour and you will be more productive and make better decisions. Less is more.


  2. The power of words. The reason why putting notices up like “Please wash your cups up, empty the tea bag caddy, leave things tidy for your fantastic colleagues” is because the words have power. Everytime people in an office go to the sink they will see this. So instead of leaving it for someone else, they will be attracted to the notice, feel a twinge of guilt and do the chores.
  3. It’s really interesting when you go to the loo on Virgin trains or Delta airlines in addition to a notice on the toilet seat, there is a rather attractive voice that asks you not to flush anything dodgy down the loo. So again people are being reminded and they have no choice but to listen. It is also humourous which means in our unconscious mind it will make us smile and we are more likely to do things with humour.
 Don’t justify it – just do it – some people just don’t get it unless it is spelt out to them. That is where spelling out to them comes from – put it in writing in a fun way that they see every time they go there.

In psychology parlance, this is called the Stroop test.

Here is Wikipedia’s explanation – Current research on the Stroop effect emphasizes the interference that automatic processing of words has on the more mentally effortful task of just naming the ink colour. … The Stroop effect’s sensitivity to changes in brain function may be related to its association with the anterior cingulate.