Psychology AS - Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) study

Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) study on STM and LTM memory.

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Glanzer and Cunitz (1966)
Classic experiment illustrated the so-called functional dissociation. They gave their P's lists of words
presented one at a time and then tested their free-recall.
Two conditions in this experiment:
Condition 1, P's were asked to recall the words immediately after they had been presented.
Condition 2, P's were given a distracter task after the words had been presented and had to
count back in 3s for 30 seconds before they were asked to recall the words.
In Condition 1, they found the expected serial position curve. H/e, in Condition 2, they found that the
distracter task had disrupted the recency effect and words from the last part of the list were not
well recalled.
They explained this by suggesting the task of counting backwards in threes had displaced the last
few words in the list (the recency portion) from the fragile STM, but that the task had not affected
the earlier words (the primacy portion) because they has already been rehearsed and passed into
the robust LTM.
Methodological issues
Highly controlled lab experiment and it has been replicated many times. H/e, the artificiality
of the task means that it might not represent how memory works in every day life (ecological
P's had to undertake several trials, i.e. they had to recall more than one list in each condition
and their average score was recorded. This was done to avoid unrepresentative results.
Ethical issues
As with all studies, the investigators had to gain the informed consent of their P's and
debrief them afterwards.


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