Effect of handedness on the Stroop Colour Word Task

Laterality. 2010 Nov;15(6):597-609. doi: 10.1080/13576500903071104. Epub 2009 Jul 22.


Handedness is associated with cerebral organisation, but its relationship with cognition remains unclear. Since the Stroop task is believed to measure aspects of executive control, this study aims to investigate the effect of handedness on Stroop interference. We used the Stroop task with 90 young adults with university education, of whom 47 (23 males) were right-handed and 43 (21 males) were left-handed. Main dependent variables were Stroop baseline (SB), Stroop incongruent (SI), and the proportional derivative Stroop reduction (SR) [SR=(SB - SI)/SB×100%] (Bugg, Delosh, Davalos, & Davis, 2007; Graf, Uttl, &Tuokko, 1995) scores. The analysis revealed that SI is significantly affected by both handedness and the interaction of sex×handedness, whereas SR is only affected by handedness. After controlling for the effect of SB on SI, only the effect of handedness remained statistically significant [F(1, 83) = 6.44, p=.013]. Post-hoc comparisons showed that left-handed females performed significantly better than right-handed females on both SI (p=.003) and SR (p=.007). The data suggest that handedness is associated with cognitive function alterations, which lead to a smaller Stroop interference of left-handers irrespectively of sex, an effect that is more pronounced in the female subpopulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Reading
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Stroop Test*
  • Young Adult