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Do people remember more words in the morning or afternoon?

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Lorraine Smithpsychology coursework

Do people remember more words in the morning or afternoon?

I am doing my coursework on weather people remember more words in the morning or afternoon. Without memory we would be unable to do the simplest things in life such as getting dressed, speaking and even recognising people who we are close to. I am going to do the experiment on the same group of people the first experiment is going to take place at 9.30 in the morning and the second experiment a week later at 2.30 in the afternoon. This is called a repeated measure. Atkinson & shifrin did a study and found that Memory is thought to consist of 3 separate stores sensory memory, short term memory and long term memory. Sensory memory only stores information for a few seconds in its original form e.g. speech is stored as sound and visual information is stored as pictures. If it is encoded it is stored into the short term memory but if not the sensory information starts to fade away. Short term memory is information that has been encoded and passes into the short term memory.

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At 9.30am one at a time 10 boys and 10 girls were called into the classroom and sat at a desk they were then shown the piece of paper that had the 15 words on and was told they had one minute to look over the words and remember as many as they could in that time. When the minute was up the piece of paper was removed and they were told to call out as many words that was on the piece of paper as they could as they did this the experimenter put a tick next to the words that they remembered this was then recorded. This experiment was then repeated but the following week at 2.30pm.i made sure that I used the same classroom for both experiments and used the same materials and trying to keep them all in the same place so the experiment was fair.


The results showed that more people remembered more words in the afternoon than they did in the morning. Almost all of the participants remembered the first 5 words this is because

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8  words remembered

11 words remembered


10 words remembered

13 words remembered


6  words remembered

9   words remembered


The outcome of my experiment has turned out how I wanted it to because it relates to my hypothesis and my aim. The outcome was that the participants remember more word in the afternoon than they do in the morning this may be because in the morning the participants are not fully awake and alert as they are in the afternoon. In the morning the participants kept saying words that wasn’t on the list and could only remember an average of 6 words but in the afternoon the average of words was increased to 9.


Overall the experiment shows that more participants remember more words in the afternoon than they do in the morning. This is probably to do with the fact that in the morning the participants are not fully awake and tend not to concentrate as much as they do in the afternoon.  This seems to agree with the Yerkes-Dodson law of performance and physiological arousal.  Because in the morning the level of arousal is not quite low therefore this can affect a tasks performance where as in the afternoon the level of arousal is much higher so the participant can concentrate a lot better on the task that they are set to do. image00.png

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