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Effect of category and hierachy on recall

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A2 unit 6 Coursework How do categorisation and hierarchy affect memory? Effect of hierarchy and categorisation on recall Contents * Abstract * Introduction * Method * Results * Discussion * References * Appendix Abstract Introduction Memory is the process by which people and other organisms encode, store, and retrieve information. Encoding refers to the initial perception and registration of information. Storage is the retention of encoded information over time. Retrieval refers to the processes involved in using stored information. Whenever people successfully recall a prior experience, they must have encoded, stored, and retrieved information about the experience. Previous research into similar topics as mine include, Bower, Bousfield and Broadbent and Broadbent. Bousfield conducted the earliest program of research on organisation. In his study, Bousfield asked subjects to name, for example, as many birds as they could. The result was that the subjects tended to name the words in subgroups, such as 'robin, blue jay, sparrow -- chicken, duck, goose, eagle, hawk.' To investigate this further, Bousfield (1953) gave subjects a 60-item list to be learned for free recall. Unlike other work at that time, however, Bousfield used related words for his lists, 15 words for each category; animals, names, vegetables, and professions. Although the words were presented in a randomised order, the subjects tended to recall them by category. Bousfield's interpretation of this pattern of recall was that the greater than chance grouping of items into clusters 'implies the operation of an organising tendency'. ...read more.


9 5 9 Descriptive statistics Group 1 Mean: 16.91666r Median: 18 Mode: 18 Range: 22 Group 2 Mean: 27.5 Median: 14.5 Mode: 16 Range: 7 Graphs Mann Whitney U test 42, U is not significant Conclusion from results The Mann Whitney u test was chosen as the independent measures design and was combined with internal data, treated as ordinal data, since the criteria did not match the requirements for a parametric test. I used a one tailed 0.05 test. In the Mann Whitney U test, U is not significant therefore we cannot reject the null hypothesis. Overall, my results are not significant, therefore it is not true that the group using categories and hierarchy will recall more, compared to the group with a list of words with no structure. Discussion By looking at the number of words remembered it is clear to see whether this is an indicator for memory. It is clear that the more words you recall the more words were remembered. In this case the experiment did not work the way expected. My results were not significant in the Mann Whitney U test. If we look back to Bower, in his study group 1 recalled 65% of the words and group two only recalled 19%. His results were significant. Which therefore implies that hierarchy and structure improves recall, as my experiment does not, there are many reasons why I have different results from Bower. ...read more.


There wasn't a significant difference between the experimental and control. This was likely due to small numbers of participants that were conducted on. Target population is the age and group of people the experimenter plans to generalise the findings on. In this experiment the target population was sixth formers at St. Paul's school. It was hard to generalise due to the method of opportunity sampling. This method was biased because only students who were available participated in the experiment. It could be improved if a wider range of students and not only people who were 'free' to participate therefore this was not a representative sample. The number of participants who took part was only 24. This was too little to generalise to a school of 1080 students. It was hard to generalise beyond the target population, as there are individual differences, psychological differences and cultural differences between much of the population. In addition my sample was too small to generalise beyond target population. If my results had concluded that an organised list of categorised words would be more efficient to remember than a randomly placed list of categorised words, this could be applied to everyday life. For example, in the education system, when teachers teach children they have to teach in a systematical order so it is easier to recall the mass amount of information. As for high school there is a syllabus. It is organised by categorising the same type of information together. This would be the most efficient way for remembering information and recalling it for the exams. ...read more.

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