John Ridley Stroop

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John Ridley Stroop
Born (1897-03-21)March 21, 1897
Rutherford County, Tennessee
Died September 1, 1973(1973-09-01) (aged 76)
Nashville, Tennessee
Resting place
Woodlawn Cemetery
Nashville, Tennessee
Nationality American
Other names J. Ridley Stroop
Education Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology
Alma mater Peabody College
Occupation Teacher
Years active 1921–1968
Organization David Lipscomb College
Known for Stroop effect
Religion Churches of Christ
Spouse(s) Zelma Dunn, great niece of Margaret Zellner, wife of David Lipscomb
Children 3 sons

John Ridley Stroop (March 21, 1897 – September 1, 1973), better known as J. Ridley Stroop, was an American psychologist whose research in cognition and interference continues to be considered by some as the gold standard in attentional studies and profound enough to continue to be cited for relevance into the 21st century.[1][3] However, Christianity was the real passion of his life; psychology was simply an occupation.[2]

Early life[edit]

Stroop was born in the rural community of Hall's Hill, outside Murfreesboro in Rutherford County, Tennessee.[1] In poor health as an infant, his family thought that he was not going to live long so he was spared part of the heaviest farm work.[1] He was brilliant in his local county school at Kitrell, finishing the first of his class. He attended David Lipscomb High School in Nashville, graduating in 1919. Stroop then began to study at David Lipscomb College, then a two-year junior college, in Nashville, Tennessee, an institution where he would later return as a faculty member after his university doctoral work. Two years later, in 1921 he obtained his diploma from Lipscomb, graduating first in his class.[2]

On December 23 of the that year (1921) Jonh Ridley Stroop married Zelma Dunn with whom he had 3 sons. Zelma was the great niece of Margaret Zellner, wife of David Lipscomb.[1]

Academic career[edit]

Stroop did the rest of his academic study at George Peabody College in Nashville while also teaching courses at Lipscomb. He received his B.S. degree in 1924 and his M.S. in 1925.[2]

Original figure from illustrating the Stroop effect in the English language. The diagram shows that it takes less time to name colors of squares (no conflict) than saying the color of a square that is written a different color ink (conflict)

His doctoral studies at Peabody were focused on Experimental Psychology with a minor in Educational Psychology. His research at the Jesup Psychological Laboratory and his dissertation were under the direction of Joseph Peterson.[2] Stroop's research built on studies in the early 1880s by Cattell under the direction of Wilhelm Wundt to measure mental processes involving naming objects as well as reading object names. The elegance of Stroop's research was to apply experimental rigor and a clarity of explanation that led to identification of the tested processes with his name.[2] He developed a color-word task to demonstrate interference between reading an objects name and naming an object, and explained some of its psychological characteristics, which were later named the Stroop effect.[4][5] Soon after producing his dissertation on the color-word task to obtain his PhD he left experimental psychology. He only produced two other papers related to the color-word task.[2]

After obtaining his doctorate, he worked briefly for the Tennessee Educational Commission and also for Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, now Tennessee Technological University. He soon returned to David Lipscomb College.[4] He served as Registrar for eleven years and then as chair of the Psychology Department from 1948 to 1964. He continued to teach psychology and Biblical studies until he retired in 1967. He served one year as dean of Ohio Valley College in Parkersburg, Virginia before returning to Lipscomb as Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies until his death on September 1, 1973.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e MacLeod, Colin M. (July 1991). "John Ridley Stroop: Creator of a landmark cognitive task.". Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne 32 (3): 521–524. doi:10.1037/h0079012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h MacLeod, Colin M. "JOHN RIDLEY STROOP: CREATOR OF A LANDMARK COGNITIVE TASK". University of Waterloo. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  3. ^ MacLeod, Colin M. (March 1992). "The Stroop task: The "gold standard" of attentional measures.". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 121 (1): 12–14. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.121.1.12. 
  4. ^ a b Arthur R. Jensen (1981). "The Stroop color-word test – a review". Citation Classic Commentaries (39). 
  5. ^ Stroop, John Ridley (1935). "Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions". Journal of Experimental Psychology 18 (6): 643–662. doi:10.1037/h0054651. Retrieved 2008-10-08.