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Stroop Test, Inhibition and Brain-based coaching

Stephanie at Idealawg alerts us of a recent article, titled A Brain-based Approach to Coaching, that serves as follow-up to the one we wrote about on the Neuroscience of Leadership”.

The authors, David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz, are hosting a a free webinar on Thursday November 2, 2006, from 2 to 3 PM Eastern.

One quote from their article: “While we don’t seem to have the ability to control our thoughts, we do have a say over which thoughts we act on. It seems we may not have much “free will” but we do have “free won’t”-the ability to not follow our urges”.

In other words, inhibition power is what “frees” us. Many kids and adults with ADHD struggle with it-and not only them. You may wonder-what is the deal with Inhibition? well, try one of your favorite brain exercises, below:

Young-old
Quick! say aloud what color you see in every word, NOT the word you read.

The Stroop test is used in neuropsychological evaluations to measure mental vitality and flexibility, since performing well requires strong inhibition capability. Enjoy.

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7 Responses

  1. Alan Pritt says:

    A possible problem with using the Stroop test as a training method is that after a little practice it becomes really easy. I suggest that this is not because we have learnt to inhibit the natural response, but because we have learnt to make the association between colour and name stronger than word and name (at least in this context).

    An interesting personal observation is that while I quickly became good at the Stoop test, after playing with it for an extended period it becomes difficult again. I guess this is probably something to do with tiring out the neurons connected with the new learnt association. This probably tests out my ‘inhibition power’ again.

    If incorporated into a dynamic training program — i.e. the task frequently changes so that it is impossible to learn a task specifically — then I think this could be a viable training method.

  2. Alvaro says:

    Alan, thanks for your comment. Yes, the Stroop test is an assessment, not a training method per se. There are more systematic ways to train inhibition.

    Your own experience indicates that training is possible. Now, no one here is talking about “inhibiting natural impulses” but about learning how to manage them. You do so by wiring new stronger associations, and learning when to use them.

    Thanks also for linking to us-will pay a visit during the weekend

  3. Alan Pritt says:

    But it’s during the process of wiring new associations that inhibiting becomes very important. For example, if you’re learning a song on your guitar and you discover you’ve learnt a section incorrectly, you have to inhibit what you’ve already learnt while you lay down new pathways. If you can’t do that, you will continue to make the same mistakes and struggle to get the new associations down correctly. Remembering to inhibit one’s response seems to be a key part here, which would translate to attention when learning a new inhibition.

  4. armand l martin OD says:

    I missed somthing here? or was I just too literal? alm

  5. Alvaro says:

    Armand, have you tried all the words, or only the first few?

  6. Alvaro says:

    Alan, true, you can learn how to inhibit your behavior-playing that guitar section incorrectly-, I just meant that what you can not inhibit is the learned impulse to play it that way at first. You have that impulse, but you manage your response, and succeed in inhibit the behavior (not the impulse). Over time, you will learn new impulses.

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