Psychology AS - Bahrick et al. (1975) LTM

Summary of the case study.

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  • Created by: Elizabeth
  • Created on: 07-06-10 03:55

AIM

To study very long-term memories in a real-life setting.

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PROCEDURE

There were 3 tasks:

1) In a recall test, 392 ppl were asked to list the names of their ex-classmates.

2) In a photo recognition task, P's were shown photographs of their ex-classmates and were asked if they could remember the names.

3) In a name recognition task, P's were given names of their ex-classmates and asked to find the matching photographs.

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FINDINGS

Within 15 years of leaving school, P's could recognise 90% of the faces and names.

Within 48 years of leaving school, P's could recognise 75% of the faces and names.

Free recall memory had declined more than photo and name recognition memory.

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CONCLUSIONS

The study shows evidence of very long-term memories in a real-life setting.

Since recognition was more accurate than free recall, there may be information stored in memory that can only be accessed when we are given the appropriate cue.

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CRITICISMS

This study was undertaken in a real-life setting and the memories were meaningful to the P's so it has high ecological validity.

It also has application in real-life, for example, carers could show elderly ppl photographs of their friends and colleagues in the Second World War in order to engage them in conversation.

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