Cognitive Studies

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Miller (1956)

  • He read out strings of randomly generate digits, one at a time at an even pace
  • Particpants had to repeat each string back as soon as it had been read out, in the correct order
  • The first string contained 3 digits, the next 4 and so on until 12
  • This was repeated over a number of trials
  • A person's digit span is the longest sequence of numbers they could recall on more than half of the trials
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Peterson and Peterson (1959)

  • ppts were briefly shown a consonant trigram
  • then were told to count backwards in threes from a specified number in order to prevent rehearsal
  • after intervals of 3,6,9,12,15 or 18 seconds the ppts were asked to recall the original trigram
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Baddeley (1966)

  • Participants were divided into four groups, each group heard a list of five words drawn from one of the following categories: acoustically similar, acoustically dissimilar, semantically similar, semantically dissimilar
  • Immediately after hearing the five words, they were asked to recall them in the correct order. 
  • The prodcedure was carried out 4 times.
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Conrad (1964)

  • Participants were shown a random sequence of six consonants projected in rapid succession onto a screen
  • The strings of consonants were either acoustically similar or dissimilar
  • Participants wrote down the letters in the same order that they had appeared
  • The letters were presented too rapidly for the ppts to keep up so they had to rely on memory
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Glanzer & Cunitz (1966)

  • Participants were presented with a list of words, one at a time, then asked to recall the words in any order (free recall).
  • Participants were divided into two groups: 

-Immediate recall group: ppts had to recall words immediately after presentation

-Delayed recall group: ppts counted backwards for 30 seconds before they recalled the words

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Baddeley et al. (1973)

  • ppts had a simple tracking task that involved holding a pointer in contact with a moving spot of light
  • at the same time, ppts were asked to do an imagery task, they were required to imagine the block capital letter 'F' and then, say 'yes' or 'no' if an angle was at the top/bottom line of the letter. 
  • Ppts found it very difficult to do both taks
  • However, they were capable of carrying out the tracking task with a verbal task


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Loftus (1979)

  • ppts were put into two conditions
  • condition 1: low-volume discussion in laboratory regarding broken down machine, man with greasey hands emerges holding a pen, walks past ppt on his  way out while passing a comment
  • condition 2: high-volume hostile argument involving breaking glass and crashing chairs, man appears holding blood-stained knife, passed a comment as leaving room
  • ppts were shown 50 photos and asked to identify the man 
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Yuille & Cutshall (1986)

  • real life crime scene
  • invovled a shopkeeper chasing a thief into the street where they both fired several shots at eachother 
  • 13 witnesses were interviewed by researchers 5 months after the event and their memory was very accurate
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Christianson & Hubinette (1993)

  • Questioned 110 witnesses who had, between them, witnessed a total of 22 genuine bank robberies.
  • some had just been witnesses who happened to be in the bank where as some were bank employees who had been directly threatened in the robberies
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Loftus & Zanni (1975)

  • Short film, participants divided into two groups and asked a series of questions
  • The wording of the questions was changed. The control group were asked if they saw a broken headlight whereas the experimental group were asked if they the broken headlight
  • There was no broken headlight in the film
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Cici & Bruck (1993)

  • Reviewed findings on children's memory and summarized the main factors
  • interviewer bias
  • repeated questions
  • stereotype induction
  • encouragement to inagine and visualise
  • peer pressure
  • authority figures
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Smith (1979)

  • Gave ppts a list of 80 words to learn while sitting in a distinctive basement room
  • the following day, he tested some ppts in the same basement room and others in a 5th floor room.
  • Average recall in the basement was 18 times compared to 12 times in the 5th floor room
  • a third group were tested in the upstairs room but first were instructed to imagine themselves back in the basement room. These students recalled on an average on 17 times.
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