Grant et al. Evaluation


Grant et al. Evaluation

Lab Experiment Method

Grant et al conducted a lab experiment which is high in control. This means that the research is easy to replicate. The study was extremely high in control as standardised procedures were used. For example, all participants had a 2 minute break between studying and the test, to ensure that the decay of memory was consistent for all. They also all wore headphones no matter the condition to ensure that the distraction of headphones could not be an extraneous variable to explain any differences in performance. Also, the same instructions were read to participants, which mirrors that which would happen in a normal class environment. Finally, the same psychoimmunology article was read by participants which means recall can be easily compared between conditions. However, laboratory experiments tend to be low in ecological validity. For example, the break between studying and the test would have been much longer in a real life situation, whereas in the study participants only waited 2 minutes. Therefore, the study may be testing short term memory, rather than long term memory and recall. 

Independent Measures Design 

Grant et al used an independent measures design, where each participant experienced only 1 of the 4 conditions of the independent variable (silent study-silent test, silent study-nosiy test, noisy study-nosiy test, noisy study-silent test). This reduces order effects, such as practice, as participants are less able to practice remembering particular things for the test. This therefore increases internal validity as the number of words will clearly be a reflection of the verb and study conditions, rather than any other variables. However, the design creates a problem of individual differences, such as eyesight, study skills or memory ability. This means that the researcher is less able to compare the scores in both tests between conditions. This may suggest that any differences due to the noise changes could be due to differences in eyesight, study skills and memory ability. 

Ecological Validity

Grant et al s research was high in ecological validity, due to the similarity of the task to real life. The participants were told to treat the article as they would any assignment that they had in school, and to highlight and underline it as they would if they were studying. Moreover, the background noise was recorded from real life conditions, which could have been noise that they would have received in an exam or while they were studying. However, it may be considered that the research is low in ecological validity because there was only a 2 minute break between learning and testing, whereas in real life there would be a larger gap before retrieval. This doesn’t reflect the time in which we revise or study information and therefore, the results may reflect how context dependent memory effects recall. Furthermore, studying while wearing headphones may not reflect how people study in reality, which means that the results may have a low ecological validity. 


Grant et al gathered quantitative data which is easy


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