carmichael (1932)

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  • Created by: Medivxl
  • Created on: 31-03-16 11:47

key terminology

reconstructive memory - info is sorted and when it is remembered it is rebuilt so can be affected by extra info and by ideas (like schemas) we might already have

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carmichael (1932)

aim: wanted to find out wheteher words shown with pictures would affect the way the pictures were remembered. 

  • lab experiment
  • independent groups design
  • 95 participants shown 12 pictures (the stimulus material)
  • independant variable: what word they heard
  • between each picture experiementer said 'the next picture resembles.." followed by a picture.
  • participants then asked to draw pictures they had seen
  • drawings compared to original (dependant variable)
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two lists

  • the drawing produced by people who heard words from list one very different to list two
  • drawigns look like words they heard

concluded memory for pictures is reconstructed and the verbal cotext affects recall because memory of the word alters the way the picture is represented

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strengths and weaknesses


  • used control group so could be sure that not all drawings were distorted in the same way
  • 2 different lists showed verbal labels affected peoples drawings
  • 12 pictures and many participants gave lots of evidence to make sure findings were reliable


  • in real life things are not generally ambiguous as the stimulus figures shown
  • prentice (1954) tested affect of verbal labels  on recognition rather than recall and found that verbal lablels didnt effect recognition, this means carmichaels findings did not apply widly
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