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A Study of Context Dependency - How encoding and retrieving in different contexts affects the memory of students in a word recall test.

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Jenna Brough 1E2 A Study of Context Dependency - How encoding and retrieving in different contexts affects the memory of students in a word recall test. Introduction Background Research: Cognitive psychologist's are interested in internal mental processes such as memory. According to the cue dependency theory information in our memory is available but not accessible. People need a suitable retrieval cue in order to trigger the memory. Cue dependancy is divided into two types, I'm studying context dependancy. This works with external cues, the environment in which information is encoded and retrieved affects how good a person's memory is. A person's memory is best when they encode and retrieve information in the same environment. Godden and Baddeley's Diver's Study (1975) Godden and Baddeley's aim was to see if encoding words in an environment and retrieving in the same environment would make a person recall information better than if they retrieved in a different environment to which they encoded in. They gave four groups of divers lists of words, two groups encoded the words on land, the other two encoded underwater. One group who learned on land recalled on land and the other recalled in water. ...read more.


The sampling method I will use is opportunity sampling. I chose this method of sampling for my study because it is quick and easy as students will be accessible and plenty around to ask for volunteers due to timetable constraints. I require 20 participants of mixed gender. They will be students aged 16-18. They all attend a college in North East England. Apparatus: I will need a Word List Powerpoint Presentation (appendix 3) to test my experimental hypothesis. I need Briefing (appendix 1) and Debriefing statements (appendix 4) to ensure ethical guidelines are followed. The participants will need Standardised Instructions (appendix 2) to help them understand what to do. Two Stopwatchs are required to keep the test fair and timing controls strict between encoding and retrieving and for the recall. I need Access to the Rooms (Classroom and Cybercafe) in order to manipulate the IV (contexts). For random allocation I will use 20 paper pieces (10 numbered "1" 10 numbered "2") this will divide the participants into two conditions for my study. All participants need a pen and paper to recall the words they remember from the list. Procedure: 1) After asking the participants for their consent I will use the Briefing Statement (appendix 1) ...read more.


This means that participants in Condition 2 produced a closer number of words. This may suggest that Condition 2 who encoded and retrieved in the classroom all had consistantly good recall proving the theory of context dependent memory. It could also mean that because participants in Condition 2 had wider spread results they were all affected by the change in context differently. Which means I can't generalise my findings to the general public as it may be different for everyone. Relationship of results to hypothesis: My results support my experimental hypothesis. I can say this because the mean number of words recalled in Condition 2 (the participants who encoded and retrieved in the same context) was more than mean for Condition 1 (those who encoded and retrieved in different rooms.) In Condition 2 participants recalled 13 words on average whereas in Condition 1 participants only recalled an average of 10.3 words from the word list. This supports my hypothesis as i predicted that participants would recall significantly more words from the word list in Condition 2 (when they encoded and retrieved in the classroom.) And that the participants in Condition 1 (who encode in the classroom and retrieve in the cybercafe) would recall less words from the word list as they were in different contexts. Looking at my results I see that this happened and therefore my results back up my original predictions. ...read more.

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