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How age affects short term memory

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How AGE affects short term memory Introduction This coursework will be investigating how age affects people's short term memory. The idea was from Sperling's experiment (1960) as he did a similar experiment to the one in this coursework will be carrying out. Sperling presented his subjects with a matrix of letters in Figure 1. It was flashed onto screen for a very short period of 50 milliseconds. After he took it off the screen he said either "Top, Middle or Bottom" and participants had to recall as many letters they could from that row. Sperling found that subjects could accurately recall the letters in each row most of the time, (more than 90% accurate recall) no matter which row was specified by the tone. This showed all of the letters were momentarily available in sensory memory. ...read more.


The extraneous variable is the box of words participants have to recall. This has been controlled because the words were chosen specifically so the younger participants would be able to read them and remember them without too much difficulty. Participants My participants are ranging from the age of 8 to 60 both male and female. The participants will be doing the experiment in their home. Participants had to range from a young age to old because the experiment is looking at how age affects short term memory. Apparatus The experiment doesn't require many materials apart from, a pen, paper and a stopwatch. The pen and paper will be provided for the participants so they can write down their memory recall and the stopwatch will be used to time 30 seconds for older participants and more time will be given to the younger participants. ...read more.


After the participants had handed their recall sheets back to the experimenter they were be debriefed and told that the experiment aims to find out how age affects ones short term memory. Ethics There were not many ethical issues that arose from the experiment because participants were mainly over the age of 16. They were still told they had the right to withdraw at any point through the experiment. They were also told that it was a confidential experiment and their names will not be used. The younger participants also had he right to withdraw as it stated in their consent forms. Results The results showed that the younger you are the poorer your short term memory is thus proving the hypothesis wrong. It showed the older participants were more successful and recalled all the words or more than the younger participants did. The oldest participant aged 60 recalled all the words perfectly and in less than 30 seconds when the 16 year old recalled only 3 words in the 30 seconds provided. ...read more.

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