Memory Study (GCSE)

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Murdock (1962)

Aim: To investigate free recall and it's effect on a person's memory

Method: He gave participants a number of words to remember and then asked them to recall as many as possible, in any order

Results: The first words recalled were those the participants had heard last (the recency effect); this is evidence that the last few words were still stored in the short-term memory. The other words recalled were those heard first (the primary effect)

Conclusion: When we are asked to recall a list of words, we remember the first and last words on the list well. Murdock says that this is because the first words on the list have been encoded, have made it into the long-term memory and are recalled from there. The last words on the list do not have time to be encoded, and so are recalled straight from the short-term memory. 

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