Studies on Memory

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Study on Levels of Processing Explanation of memor

Craik and lockhart (1972)

Aim: To see if the type of question asked about words will have an effect on the number of words recalled

Method: Participants were presented with a list of words, one at a time they were asked yes/no questions on each word. some words required stuctural processing, others phonetic processing and others semantic processing. They were then given a longer list of words and were asked to identify which words they had been asked about.

Results: Paricipants identified 70% of the words which required semantic processing, 35% of the words that required phonetic processing and 15% of the words that requried structural processing.

Conclusion: The more deeply you think about a word the more likely that you will remember it.

Evaluation: 1) This study does not explain why deeper levels of processing help memory

2) Some psychologysts suggest that deeper processing takes more time and effort and that the extra time and effort is what helps us remember the word

3)Also this study is low on ecological validity as real life memory tasks are not usually about learning lists of words.

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Study on reconstructive memory

Bartlett (1932)

Aim:To see if people, when given something unfamiliar to remember would alter the information

Method: Participants were asked to read the story 'The War of the Ghosts', which was a Native American legend. Later they were asked to retell the story as accuratelly as possible. The retelling was repeated several times over the next couple of weeks.

Results: Bartlett discorvered that his participants found it hard to remember parts of the story which referred to spirits and changed other parts of the story so that it made more sense to them. Each time they told the story they changed it some more.

Conclusion: Bartlett concluded that our memory is influenced by our own beliefs.

Evaluation:1) This study helps us understand why people from different cultures have difficulty agreeing with eachother.

2)It would be very difficult to measure the accuracy of the stories told with a reliable scoring method

3)This study is more relevant to our everyday life as it explains why when telling someone what we did that day we may emphasise somethings and downplay others.

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Study on Interferance

Underwood and Postman (1960)

Aim: to see if new learning interferes with previous learning.

Method: Participants were divided into 2 groups. Group A was asked to learn a list of word pairs (cat-tree, candle table) They were then asked to learn a second list of words (cat-glass, candle-whale). Group B was asked to learn the first list of words only. Both groups were asked to recall the fist list of word pairs.

Results: Group B's recall of the word pairs was more accurate than Group A's.

Conclusion: New learning will cause people to recall previously learned information less accuratelly.

Evaluation:1) This study is a lab experiment which means it is low in ecological validiy as we would not be asked to recall word pairs in real life situations.

2)The similarity between the word pairs that had to be recalled could have increased the difficulty and therefore made it less accurate.

3)As the experimental design was indipendant groups there may be a chance of paricipant variables as there are different people in the two varibles, which could be the reason for the different results.

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A study for the muti store explanation of memory

Peterson and peterson (1959)

aim: to see if rehearsal was necessary to hold information in the short term store.

method: participants were given sets of 3 letters to remeber such as GYK,MTW, but were immediately asked to count backwards in threes for differnt lengths of time. This was done to prevent rehersal. Participants were then asked to recall the letters in the correct order.

Results: the results of the study showed that participants had forgotten virtually all of the information after 18 seconds.

Conclution: it was concluded that we cannot hold information in the short term memory store unless we rehearse it.

Evaluation: 1. participants in the study only had to learn nonsense sylables or lists of words, this is not something we would do in the real world and so the study lacks ecological validity.

 2. not everything we learn must be rehearsed, there are many every day events are easily remembered.  

3. the explanation helps us understand why it is so easy to remember car registation numbers or telephone numbers.

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Bruce and Young (1998)

Aim: To see if familiarity affects the accuracy of identifying faces.

Method: Psychology lecturers were caught on security cameras at the entrance of the building. Participants were asked to identify faces seen on the security camera tape from a series of high-quality photography.

Results: The lecturers' students made more correct identifications than other students and experienced police officers.

Conclusion: Previously familiar helps idetifying faces.

Evaluation: 1) This experiment does demonstrate the limited value of security cameras when it comes to identifying someone.

2)Stereotypes that we hold may also affect recall

3)Our emotional state at the time also may affect recall

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Loftus and Palmer (1974)

Aim: To see if leading questions affect the accuracy of recall.

Method: Participants were shown films of car accidents. Some were asked 'How fast was the car going when it hit the other car?' others were asked 'How fast was the car going when it smashed the other car?'

Results: Those who heard the word smashed gave a higher speed estimate than those who heard hit.

Conclusion: Leading questions will reduce the accuracy of recall. The word 'smashed' let participants to believe the car was going faster.

Evaluation: 1) Watching a film is not the same as a real life car accident, when you watch a film you are prepared for what is about to happen while in real life it takes you by suprise.

2)In real life the situation might pose some danger to you, the trauma might have an effect on recall

3)The length of time between the incident and the questioning might be important as our memory fades over time.

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Describe a study on Context.

Aim:To see if people who learn and are tested in the same environment will recall more information than those who learn and are tested in different environments.

Method:Participants were deep sea divers, they were divided into 4 groups. Group 1 learn and recalled underwater. Group 2 learnt underwater and recalled on shore. Group 3 learnt and recalled on shore. Group 4 learnt on shore and recalled underwater.

Results:Groups 1 & 3 recalled 40% more words than Groups 2 & 4.

Conclution: Recall of information will be better if it happens in the same context that learning takes place.

Evaluation: 1) This study is suported by other research.

2) if participants were aware that their memory was being tested they might have put in more effort, which improves our memory

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