The counting Stroop: a cognitive interference task

Nat Protoc. 2006;1(1):230-3. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.35.


The counting Stroop is a validated Stroop task variant. Initially designed as a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task for identifying brain regions subserving cognition and attention (dorsal anterior midcingulate cortex (daMCC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC)), it has been used to study cognition in healthy volunteers and to identify functional brain abnormalities in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). During the counting Stroop, subjects report by button-press the number of words (one to four) appearing on the screen, regardless of word meaning. Neutral-word control trials contain single semantic category common animals (e.g., 'dog' written three times), while interference trials contain number words that are incongruent with the correct response (e.g., 'two' written four times). The counting Stroop can be completed in approximately 20 min per subject and can be used offline (behavioral performance) or with fMRI, positron emission tomography, event-related potentials, magnetoencephalography or intracranial recordings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests*
  • Language
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Photic Stimulation / methods