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The Effects of Free and Forced Retrieval on False Recall.

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Introduction

The Effects of Free and Forced Retrieval on False Recall Experimental Psychology Section 0999 Dr. Evangeline Caldwell Duyen Hau Nguyen Abstract This experiment investigated the effects of free and forced retrieval instructions on false recall. It was hypothesised that false recall will be higher under the forced retrieval condition than under the free retrieval condition and correct recall will be unaffected. Thirty-two participants were instructed to remember 4 lists of 12 words. They were randomly assigned to either the free retrieval condition or to the forced retrieval condition. It was found that the mean number of false recalls under the forced retrieval condition was higher than under the free retrieval condition. As well, the mean number of correct recalls was even for both conditions. We often take our memory for granted, except when it malfunctions. But it is our memory that enables us to sing, find our way home, locate the food and water we need for survival and recognize acquaintances. Memory refers to the capacity of learning over time through the storage and retrieval of information. Furthermore, recall is a measure of memory in which one must retrieve the information previously learned. Unlike videotapes or photocopies, memories are reconstructive as well as reproductive and hence, fallible. In an experiment by Stuart (2001) investigating false recall, a hundred students of two psychology research methods classes were asked to recall and recognize 6 lists of 14 words. ...read more.

Middle

For the forced recall condition, the mean number of intrusions is 9.2 and of central concept intrusions is 1.5. These results clearly show that there is more total false recalls for participants who were given the forced recall instructions than for those who were given the free recall instructions (10.7 > 2.8). Furthermore, the mean number of correct recalls for the free retrieval condition and the forced retrieval condition are 34.6 and 37.3 respectively. This illustrates a slightly higher correct recall for forced recall condition than for the free recall condition. From a more general conclusion however, correct recall is relatively constant for both conditions. Free Recall participants Correct recalls False recalls (Intrusions) False recalls (Central concept) Total false recalls m1 35 1 2 3 m2 31 3 1 4 m3 37 4 1 5 m4 37 1 0 1 m5 27 2 3 5 m6 38 2 0 0 m7 33 5 1 6 m8 39 2 2 4 Mean for males 34.6 2.5 1.3 3.5 f1 28 5 0 5 f2 30 0 0 0 f3 35 0 0 0 f4 36 1 0 1 f5 37 1 0 0 f6 37 0 2 2 f7 33 6 0 6 f8 40 2 0 2 Mean for females 34.5 1.9 0.25 2 Total mean 34.6 2.2 0.75 2.8 Forced recall participants Correct recalls False recalls (Intrusions) False recalls (Central concept) ...read more.

Conclusion

This is due to the fact that the participants perceived the words through their auditory sense since they were read to them. Many false recalls that were not the central concept but were still in the theme of the list also recurred. For example, "wheel" appeared 7 times in the list with the central concept "car". This illustrates how one may organize information into our memory by semantic groupings. Additionally, one participant under the forced recall condition, while trying to recall a particular word, reported that she had it on the "tip of her tongue". She knew its meaning and seemed to have a vague image of its syllables but she just could not recall it. This TOT state (tip-of-the-tongue) shows that information is organized also in the terms of the way words sound or look. The results of the present experiment demonstrate that every word whether at the beginning, the middle, or the end of the list, was recalled as often as another one. Hence, the serial-position effect could not be observed here. However, I suspect that this is due to lists being rather short. I believe that with longer lists, this effect will be shown. As well, the present study only tested for echoic memory since the participant perceived the words as auditory stimuli. It would be interesting to see if the same results will be obtained if the presentation of each word was done by showing a cue card on which that word will be written. ...read more.

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