How to find out if someone who claims not to speak Russian really can speak Russian – Boing Boing

by aepxc

I’ve known about the Stroop Test for long time, and I expect many people are familiar with it. But here’s an interesting use of the Stroop Test that I learned about last night while reading an interesting book called Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney: “the Stroop task became a tool for American intelligence officials during the cold war. A covert agent could claim not to speak Russian, but he’d take longer to answer correctly when looking at Russian words for colors.”

Wikipedia has an article about a related test called the emotional Stroop test: “depressed participants will be slower to say the color of depressing words rather than non-depressing words. Non-clinical subjects have also been shown to name the color of an emotional word (e.g., ‘war’, ‘cancer’, ‘kill’) slower than naming the color of a neutral word (e.g., ‘clock’, ‘lift’, ‘windy’).”

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