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The Effect of Semantic Organisation of Information on Recall in the Short Term Memory

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PSYCHOLOGY COURSEWORK The Effect of Semantic Organisation of Information on Recall in the Short Term Memory BY GINA COLLIER INTRODUCTION Abstract The experiment contained within this coursework is a replication of the experiment conducted by Bower et al (1969). Subjects were recruited by the experimentors and asked to take part in a psychological study. They were given standardised instructions, stimuli and debriefing. The experiment itself was to test the level of recall of the subjects who were split into two groups randomly and one of two stimuli depending upon which group they were in. One group had an organised list of words and one had an unorganised list of words. The point of the experiment being that it is believed that the group that learnt the organised list of words should have a higher level of recall than the other group. This coursework is going to use the principles of cognitive psychology. These are that it is possible to explain behaviour by referring to mental processes such as memory, even though these processes cannot be observed directly. Mental processes are presumed to process information in the same way that a computer does. I am going to conduct a lab experiment to investigate into memory. ...read more.


Participants There were twenty subjects, ten male and ten female. Ten of these were from the home environment and ten from the college environment. All of them were between the ages of thirteen and twenty. This only represents an accurate sample of the younger generation for a purpose, this being that older generations tend not to have such a good level of recall due to their ages. The sample taken was opportunistic. This means that people who were in the right place at the right time were sampled. This is opposed to a random sampling when subjects are chosen from many different places at many different times. Apparatus The stimulus materials consisted of word lists. The list for the control group is randomly organised. (see appendix I) The list for the experimental group is the same words as for the control group but organised (see appendix II) A stop watch was used to time the distraction tasks and learning times. Procedure The subjects were given a set of standardised instructions (see appendix III) which stated that they were to receive a word list of fifteen words and allowed twenty seconds learn them. After this they were to be given a distraction task which was to count in fours in reverse from forty to one for forty seconds. ...read more.


Due to my results supporting Bower et als experiment, it shows consistency. This proves that the theory of semantic organisation of information leading to higher recall is a reliable finding. My sample is an attempt at an accurate representation of the population, therefore my results should be able to be generalised to the public. However, my sample is opportunistic, this means that questions will be raised as to whether my sample is representative of the population. believe I achieved this by choosing equal numbers of male and female and equal. numbers from the home and college environment. Therefore varying levels of intelligence, ability and knowledge. The experiment was a field study. Therefore subjects were in their natural setting, not a controlled laboratory. Also, the subjects knew me and so did not behave in an abnormal way which would affect the validity. I believe this experiment has a very high ecological validity due to this and the fact that the test had high resemblance to how memory is used in real life. In conclusion, I believe that my experiment was a valid and reliable look into the effect of semantic organisation on recall in the short term memory. It could have been improved though, as previously mentioned. My experiment supports the findings of Bower et al (1969) and I believe that conclusions can be drawn from my results as were from Bower's experiment. ...read more.

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