A Study of Interlingual and Intralingual Stroop Effect in Three Different Scripts: Logograph, Syllabary, and Alphabet

Wei Ling Lee, Ghim Choo Wee, Ovid J.L. Tzeng, Daisy L. Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


One hundred and sixty-seven Chinese, 24 Malay and 24 Indian children of Singapore, bilingual in both English and their mother tongues (Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, respectively) were tested with the Stroop color-naming tasks in both languages under intralingual and interlingual conditions. The interference effect was found for each and every language, with respect to both intra- and inter-language conditions. The Chinese words were not found to cause more interference than the English words, and the reduction in interference in the switch language situation was the same for all three bilingual groups. These results contradict the predictions made by the orthography-specific hypothesis in which logographic script is expected to induce greater intralanguage interference than the sound-based scripts (syllabary and alphabet) and the reduction of interference from intra- to interlanguage condition is expected to increase as the difference between two orthographic structures increases. A further analysis suggests that the speed of decoding color words and the speed of generating color names may combine to determine the magnitude of the Stroop effect. Under such a conceptualization, it is meaningless to assign any important role to the orthographic factor in the interpretation of the bilingual Stroop effect. In fact, the Stroop effect itself, regardless of the context of bilingualism, is better handled by an activation-suppression model of selective attention which accounts for all data observed in the present study as well as those observed in the previous literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-442
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Psychology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1992


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