Bartlett (1932) : schemas

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  • Bartlett (1932) - schemas
    • Aim: to investigate how information changes with each reproduction and to find out why it changes
      • Folk tale called 'The War of the Ghosts' - came from a different culture so names and ideas were unfamiliar.
        • Serial reproduction - the first participant read it twice (normal speed). Waited 15-30 mins then told it to the 2nd participant. Each participant (group of 10) repeated it to the next person. Several chains of participants.
        • Repeated production - participants tested separately. Read story twice to themselves (normal speed), after 15 mins, gave their first reproduction. Not allowed to look at the original. Later reproductions done at different intervals for different participants - 20hrs, 8days, 6months, 10years. Not allowed to look at previous reproductions.
          • Didn't know the aim, they thought it was a test of accuracy of recall. 20 participants - 13 men, 7 women.
    • Very few participants recalled accurately. Bartlett analysed changes and found patterns.
      • Form - once a story has a particular outline it sticks - e.g. order of events. && Details - information such as names and numbers are lost. If remembered, they are stereotyped. && Simplification - events are made less complex. Details left out or made familiar (idea of ghosts was lost). && Addition - inaccurate details were put in, (e.g. building of a fire)
    • Conclusion - unfamiliar material changes when it is recalled. Becomes shorter, simpler and more stereotyped (SSS). Due to effect of a schema on memory.
    • Strengths: both repeated and serial reproductions were done many times - changes to the story followed same patterns. && other stories used in serial reproductions - changes weren't just special to TWotG.
      • Weaknesses: chose unfamiliar material - can't be sure that the changes would apply to similar material. && Bartlett didn't test repeated reproduction participants after the same time intervals - changes over time cannot be compared fairly.


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