• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"An experiment to see the effect of chunking on short-term memory recall".

Extracts from this document...


Psychology Coursework Introduction "An experiment to see the effect of chunking on short-term memory recall". Many psychologists studying memory suggest that there are different stages through which information must travel if it is to be remembered. According to Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) there are three kinds of memory storage and these vary according to their function and the length of time information is retained. Sensory memory is the first storage. This refers to the initial momentary storage of information, which lasts only a short time. It is recorded by the persons sensory system as a raw non-meaningful stimulus. Short-term memory is the next storage. This can last from around 5 to 15 seconds. The difference between this stage and the sensory stage is that here the information is stored in terms of its meaning rather than as mere sensory stimulation. Repetitive rehearsal would retain the information in short-term memory for longer. The third type of storage is long-term memory. Here information is relatively permanent although it may be difficult to retrieve. Continual rehearsal would be needed here if the information were to be stored for a long time. However, it is said that sometimes the brain does not forget certain things such as a language; even without rehearsal people seem to remember languages for long periods of time. For this coursework I am going to be concentrating on short-term memory, i.e. the effects of chunking on short-term memory recall. Chunking refers to a process by which information committed to memory is restructured. The term was first used by George Miller in a famous 1956 review paper entitled " The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. " Miller discussed a memory span experiment conducted by S. Smith. Smith, measured the span of immediate memory for strings of binary digits (e.g. 110010110) and found the span to be about the same as for decimal digits. ...read more.


When told to stop memorising, turn the paper over and straight away start recalling as much as you can. You will have 30 seconds to do this and then be told to stop. Stop straight away, turn your papers over and put your pens down." After these instructions were given I asked all the participants if they understood the instructions clearly so as to avoid confusion. I then started the experiment. After the first test was done and the results were collected in I repeated the procedure explaining that they should repeat what they did with a different word list. The word list firstly given to one group was given to the other and vice versus. The papers were then collected in and the students were debriefed on what they were tested on and what we were looking for. This debrief consisted of "This experiment was testing short-term memory and the effects of chunking. You were tested on, un-chunked words, and chunked words. Thank you for taking part" After this they were asked a series of questions to help reduce the number of participant variables. Did you have any breakfast this morning? Has anyone had a late night and feel they didn't get enough sleep? Did anyone drink any caffeine? Controls Situational controls These were controlled so that nothing distracts the participants or affects the results. A "Do Not Enter" sign was placed on the door to make sure that no ones entered the room and interrupts the experiment. The experiment was done in the middle of the day. This makes sure that the participants are alert and capable of doing the test. This also ensured that the amount of light in the room is sufficient to read the data. The door will be shut during the experiment as to keep out as much noise as possible, and the room used was detached from the building so there was less noise from the other students. ...read more.


This is shown in the results as the results range from six to nine letters or numbers remembered. Miller also said that the amount of information that can be retained in the short-term memory can be increased through chunking and this is shown in my experiment because in Test A some people remembered up to all 10 chunks of information when they were chunked. I also discussed in the background research how Herbert Simon found that if he presented himself with a list of words and found he could not recall them properly after just one presentation unless they were chunked. This is also shown in my experiment because due to chunking the participants found it increasingly easier to remember the chunked words compared to the un-chunked words. De Groot also found that chunking affects the short term memory when related to chess players. I believe this can be related to my experiment because Generalisation Of Findings The experiment was done on a very small age group from 16-18 so it would be hard to generalise to younger children and also to adults or elderly people. This is because the results may vary depending on the age range. The participants were from different ethnicities and genders so you can generalise to them. This means that the results cannot be generalised to the larger population. Application of Study to Everyday Life You can apply this study to everyday life situations. For example if you looked up a phone number in the telephone book and you didn't have a pen so you had to remember it long enough to type it into the phone, you might chunk the numbers together to make it easier to remember. This would be chunking. Another example in a real life situation would be that sometimes people have trouble remembering how to spell words so they chunk the words together to make it easier to remember. For example, to spell 'altogether' you could chunk it into four words. 'All', 'to', 'get', 'her'. This would be another example of chunking. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Define short-term memory and describe the main factors that influence the number of items ...

    4 star(s)

    to the one thousandth decimal place. Aitkin's theory was to arrange the digits in rows of fifty, each containing ten groups of five digits. He then recited them again and again using a particular rhythm and they became easier for him to memorise (Aitkin 1937 [3]).

  2. An experiment to investigate the effect of interference on memory recall

    It talks about 3 different levels of processing - * Structural level (Appearance) * Phonetic level (Sound) * Semantic level (Meaning) Craik and Lockhart (1972) tested this and found that there was more information processed at semantic level than acoustic level and that information processed at structural level was remembered least.

  1. The Effect Chunking of Numbers has on Short-Term Memory Recall.

    He found that while the sizes of chunks vary accordingly to players' expertise, the average number of chunks that they could hold was 3 to 4. Rationale Past studies have shown results that chunking has improved memory recall. However, previous experiments tend to focus on organised information, which had meaning

  2. Investigating the short-term memory

    These will also be recorded. This investigation will add to the ones conducted already as this should give evidence for Baddeley's research. This showed that short-term memory used acoustic memory, which meant that the recall of the word was due to its sound. This should also add to evidence supporting the Atkinson & Shiffrin theory

  1. The effect of chunking on memory recall in STM.

    In summary Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968,1971) introduced the idea of the multi-store memory modal with its three main processes. Much earlier than this Ebbinghaus discovered that the short term memory could hold six or seven pieces of information. Miller said the short term memory could hold 7 +/- 2 pieces

  2. Psychology Retrospective Interference coursework

    Ask them to sit still for 5 minutes without any other distraction. Say, "Now, please rest for 5 minutes. You will be informed when the 5 minutes are up." j) After 5 minutes, say, "Your 5 minutes are up."

  1. The Effects of Chunking and Distraction on Short Term Memory Recall

    One of the main ways to assess this has been to impose a distraction technique during or after the items which are to be memorized. For example Wolach and Pratt (2000) studied the effects of both phonological and noise ditracters on short term momory recall and showed that both distracters negatively affected the memorization process.

  2. How interference affects memory recall

    all the extraneous variables such as the word list, amount of time participants have to study word list and the time they have to recall wordlist and the amount of time they have to listen to the music. Another advantage is that a laboratory experiment ha ecological validity as my

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work