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The effect of chunking on memory recall in STM.

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Introduction

Psychology Chunking Abstract[L1] In this report I have investigated Miller's chunking theory and whether that increases the amount of information that can be stored in the short term memory. The aim of this experiment is to investigate whether chunking does improve the amount of memory the short term memory can hold. The hypothesis is in a test of short term memory recall involving 10 participants who had to remember and recall 5 chunked mobile phone numbers and 5 un-chunked mobile phone numbers. Participants who used the chunking method will score higher than participants who didn't use the chunking method. My research method is an experiment. I was able to accept my hypothesis and as a result I can say that Ebbinghaus was in fact wrong in saying that the short term memory can only hold six or seven pieces of information because with the chunking method it can hold more than that. So Miller was right the short term memory can hold 7+/-2 pieces of information. Generally people find information easier to remember if it is in smaller chunks rather than great streams of information. Background information Erika Cox wrote that memory has three main processes. Registration is where the sense organs identify information and enter it into the memory system. Storage is the process by which information is kept in the memory and finally retrieval is the process by which information in memory can be recovered. ...read more.

Middle

Chunked means that the mobile numbers will be read out in smaller groups rather than all eleven numbers at once. So I will be reading the numbers out in 1 group of 5 and 2 groups of 3. There will be slight pauses in between each group of numbers. Un-chunked means that the numbers will simply be read out without any breaks in between each number. The dependant variable is how much of the mobile number is recalled in the right order. The extraneous variable is that when I read the numbers out to the participants my voice might change pitch between each participant. I might not be able to keep exactly the same amount of time between each number as I read them. I will control this by recording my voice speaking all 10 chunked and un chunked numbers and then playing this recording back to each participant. They will all hear the same recording which means there will be no change in pitch, tone of voice and time in between each number. Participants The target population is 16-18 year old students studying A levels. The sampling method I will be using is opportunity sampling which means that the sample is selected on the basis of who is available at the time of testing and willing to take part. I am using this sampling method because it is the quickest and easiest way to take a sample. ...read more.

Conclusion

My experiment also supports Attkinson and Shiffrin's idea that information is not rehearsed then it is forgotten. Summary and Conclusions My research could be taken on and used in the real world. For example A limitation of my experiment was that I only tested British people between the age of 16-18. Therefore my results haven't got a very broad variety of different ages or cultures and are not very representative. These results only represent a very small group of people. I could have improved my experiment by drawing from a wider variety of different people. Testing people of all different ages and ethnic persuasions would have given me a broader and more representative set of results. Further research you could carry out following my experiment is whether recall was better when hearing a recording of a woman's voice a opposed to a mans voice. This would be interesting research as participants 1,2,4,5 and 10 on average got lower scores on both chunked and un-chunked than participants 3,6,7,8,and 9. Participants 1,2,4,5 and 10 were male and participants 3,6,7,8 and 9 were female. So on average the girls got higher test results than the boys. Maybe this was because the girls found listening to a man's voice more appealing and therefore found it easier to remain focused. Maybe the male participants found the man's voice less appealing as opposed to a woman's voice and therefore found it more difficult to remain focused. ...read more.

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