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An experiment to investigate the effect of depth of processing on memory

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Introduction

An experiment to investigate the effect of depth of processing on memory Introduction Imagine one morning you wake up to find you've completely lost your memory. How do you feel? You would be unable to neither do many things you take for granted such as remembering your name, age or where you lived nor recognise any familiar faces or voices. You would not recall what you where thinking about few minutes ago or what your plans were for the day, infact you would be absolutely helpless without your memory. Memory is the process of retaining information after the original is no longer present. There are many links between learning and memory; certain things that are learned and memory are very similar phrases. Although specialists who theorize behaviourists would dismiss the idea of memory, because they claim memory is more than just learning, suggesting the involvement of cognitive process. It is important to recognise that a normally functioning memory system must be capable of three stages: 1. Encoding: when information is changed into codes so we are able to make sense of it. For example sound waves are changed into words and words are changed into meanings. 2. Storage: the information that we encoded then is stored, so it becomes available sometime in the future. ...read more.

Middle

Aim My aim for this experiment is to asses the levels of processing and investigating the effect of mental imagery on memory. Hypothesis There will be a significant difference between the numbers of words recalled by processing the word to a deeper level. Null hypothesis: There will not be a significant difference between the numbers of words recalled by processing the word to a deeper level any difference is due to chance. Method Design The study I am doing is an experimental study, it gives clue about cause and effect and it is very similar to what Craik and Lockhart did. To test my theory I asked two volunteers to look at a piece of paper and answer yes/no questions containing words (please see appendix) in the piece of paper there was two different sections known as the shallow and deep end. This theory was used to test how many words the participant would remember. The independent variable in this experiment was the participant's depth of processing in the deep or shallow end. The dependent variable was the number of words recalled from the memory test. Extraneous variable can affect the experiment and the results. To control my variable all participants will follow the same method. Standardised instructions (please see appendix) and a standardised material that concluded a blue or black pen. ...read more.

Conclusion

Discussion It seems that those participants who processed the words to a deeper condition than a shallow condition were able to recall more words. Therefore there was a significant difference and my hypothesis can be accepted, nevertheless my results show many similarities, the median for both shallow condition and deep condition was a 9, the range for both condition was 18. This shows although there was a significant difference it was not a big difference also 7 and 13 was a common number for the mode. However my experiment still backs up Craik and Lockhart's experiment because most participants found that processing words to a deeper condition, helped recall those words. But my results show that there wasn't a big difference to words being processed to a deeper condition than a shallow condition. Looking back at this experiment and in my introduction we can say that there appears to be many different factors to memory, so therefore we cannot say memory is based on one factor. The experiment was biased towards people age of 16 + and a representative sample of the population was not gained, also the participants were volunteers and therefore it is biased towards "volunteering" type of person. If I could do the experiment again I would ask more people and get more results, I would also explain the experiment in more detail so that it is more ethically right. I would also make the words more bold and clearer on the resource sheets as this could help participants. ...read more.

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