AQA Psychology - Baddeley (1975)


Godden and Baddeley (1975)  Context-dependent memory in two natural environments: on land and under water


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of environmental encoding cues on the ability to recall.  In particular Godden and Baddeley wanted to investigate the role of context cues and test cue-dependency theory which argues that recall will be better  if it takes place in the same environment as learning.


Eighteen participants were recruited from a university diving club in Scotland.  There were 13 male and 5 female participants and all participants used their own SCUBA equipment.

The field experiment was carried out over 4 days.

The 18 participants were randomly divided into four groups and all participants took part in all 4 conditions.

The type of experimental design used was therefore a repeated measured design.

During the course of the diving holiday each participant undertook one condition per day.

1. Learn on land and recall on land (dry/dry)
2. Learn under water and recall underwater  (wet/wet)
3. Learn on land and recall underwater (dry/wet)
4. Learn under water and recall on land (wet/dry)

The independent variables were therefore whether the learning and recall environments were the same (dry/dry or wet/wet) or different (dry/wet or wet/dry).

The participants listened to the words on land and




A great summary of Baddeley's classic study into context-dependent memory.  It makes me wonder whether all exams should be taken in the same room in which they are learnt?!