In a landmark experiment in 1935, John Ridley Stroop demonstrated a cognitive effect which has fascinated psychologists for centuries. In the first of a series of experiments reported in his dissertation, Stroop asked participants to read the names of a list of colour words (e.g. blue, red, etc) under two conditions. In the first condition, participants were asked to read words that were printed in black ink whereas in the other condition they were expected to read words which were printed in ink colours that did not match the color names. For example, the word blue may have been printed in red ink (i.e. blue – in this case, the correct answer would have been blue). In this experiment, Stroop found that there was no significant difference in performance between the two conditions. Continue reading
Michael Stevens looks at possible causes for deja vu and suggests that it might be due to a disconnect between the different parts of our brain which are simultaneously processing information consciously and unconsciously. Michael also explains other quirky phenomena such as presque vu, jamais vu and the hypnagogic jerk.
Sigmund Freud is known the world over as being one of the most recognisable names in the field of psychology. The Austrian neurologist is famous for being the founder of psychoanalysis and for his controversial theories which were often of a sexual nature. Born in 1856, the young Freud was part of an unusual family structure, with a mother 20 years younger than his father, and two half-brothers almost as old as his mother. Despite this and his family’s financial hardships, Freud went on to excel in his studies and graduated as a doctor of medicine in 1881.
The catalyst in Freud’s founding of psychoanalysis came in his treatment of patients suffering from hysteria. After forming his private practice in 1886, Freud used hypnosis on his patients to try to find the underlying cause of their mental issues. Continue reading
Michael Stevens attempts to define consciousness, raises questions of identity and asks if it is possible for something to exist simply as a “philosophical zombie.”