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The aim of the investigation was to repeat the experiment carried out by Bower and Springston in 1970. A laboratory experiment was carried out to demonstrate how chunking could be used to increase the capacity of STM.

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Summary The aim of the investigation was to repeat the experiment carried out by Bower and Springston in 1970. A laboratory experiment was carried out to demonstrate how chunking could be used to increase the capacity of STM. Participants were presented with a letter sequence. The independent variable was the chunking and the dependent variable was how many letters the participants recalled. A repeated measures design was used and the participants were an opportunist sample of 20 students, between the ages of 16-18 years. The results were analysed using the Wilcoxon test. Therefore the directional hypothesis that the participants remembered more of the acronyms than the non-related trigrams is significant. The graphs and the results extended this by showing that more acronyms were remembered than the non-related. Introduction Memory is the process of storing information and experiences for possible retrieval at some point in the future. This ability to create and retrieve memories is fundamental to all aspects of cognition and in a broader sense it is essential to our ability to function properly as human beings. Our memories allow us to store information about the world so that we can understand and deal with future situations on the basis of past experience. The process of thinking and problem solving relies heavily on the use of previous experience and memory also makes it possible for us to acquire language and to communicate with others. ...read more.


Materials Participants were provided with A4 sheets of paper and a pen to write with. A stopwatch was also used so as to time how long it took for each participant to recall the trigrams. The experimenter also had a list of 15 acronyms and 15 non-related trigrams. Stimulus materials were randomly chosen; the experimenter also had a sheet with standardised instructions. Procedure The experiment took place in the college. It was an opportunist sample, so selecting anyone who is available to take part in the experiment. Standardised instructions were followed like asking the participants if they would like to take part in a small experiment. At first the participants were presented with the acronyms, they were given time to recall and they were asked to write it down within 15 seconds. Later, they were provided with non-related trigrams and the above procedure was repeated again. Debriefing took place after the experiment was finished. A repeated measures design was used in both the experimental conditions. Controls Different participants have different states of mind or mood when participating in the experiment. Making the experiment as active and interesting as possible can control this. Timing could also be an extraneous variable as the participants may be better/worse at recalling at particular time. To avoid this stopwatch could be used so that the participants have equal amount of time when recalling letters. ...read more.


Demand characteristics also occur when participants try to make sense of the situation they find themselves in and act accordingly. These may seriously threaten the validity of an experiment. A further possible problem concerns the level of public knowledge (or the lack of it) about psychology- how an individual perceives psychology may affect their responses in the research setting. In this experiment the participants are mostly A-level students. This raises the question of the extent to which it is reasonable to generalize the results of such experimental studies to other groups of groups of people. Implications of the research and future research that can be carried out The results from this study show that more participants recall more acronyms than non-related trigrams. In Bower and Springston experiment, the findings were the same; participants remember more of the acronyms than the non-related trigrams. These results have implications particularly the students. According to Bower and Springston participant recall more acronyms, but is it necessary to answer an exam essay question being as simple as running through the mnemonic in our mind? In this experiment participants recalled the trigrams better from the beginning and the end of the list than from the middle of the list. So this area could be explored in more detail. Conclusion The experimental hypothesis, that more participants recall more acronyms than the non-related trigrams has been accepted. So chunking increases the capacity of Short term Memory. ...read more.

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