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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3773

The aim of the research is to find out whether or not interference does occur when participants try to identify the colour inks that colour words are written in.

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  1. The aim of the research is to find out whether or not interference does occur when participants try to identify the colour inks that colour words are written in.

The experimental hypothesis is that participants should take longer to identify the colour inks of colour words than other neutral words when tested.

The null hypothesis states that the difference in time taken between colour words and neutral words is due to chance.

  1. A directional hypothesis has been selected because there has been a lot of prior research in this field of study which indicates that this will be the direction of the results.
  1. The chosen research method is experiment and the design used is independent measures.
  1. Advantages of research methods are Replicability of procedures-other researchers can repeat the experiment to see if they get the same results, and another advantage is the Control over variables-this allows high levels of precision, cause and effects can be established quickly.

Disadvantages of research methods are Demand characteristics-participants try to make sense of the situation and may try to change their behaviour in order to give the experimenter what they want/or the opposite, another disadvantage is Lack of ecological validity-there are such high levels of control, the situation may become too artificial or staged.

5.   Participants will be assigned to each of the two groups randomly, by pulling names out of the

hat. This will ensure that there is no bias in the researcher’s allocation of participants to conditions

There are number of confounding variables that need to be controlled some possible confounding    

      variables may include sampling bias, participant motivation and fatigue and also environmental    

      changes i.e. noise and temperature.

6.         In order to deal with these you take the participant to a quiet area where they won’t be disturbed

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The participants appeared to have blocked out the meaningful content of the non-shadowed message and were only aware of its general physical characteristics. This finding suggests that we might deal with auditory message in at least two stages.

The first stage may be able to handle several messages at once, but only involved in the processing of general physical properties such as the type of voice.

The second stage can only deal with one message at a time, but processes this as deeper and more meaningful level.

Divided attention refers to the way in which we seem able to do more than one task at the same time. In other words our ability to divide our attention between competing tasks e.g. driving and drinking coke.

Allport et al. (1972) have shown that skilled musicians can accurately shadow prose at the same time as playing sheet music, and Shaffer (1975) has shown that skilled typists can shadow prose accurately while typing a foreign language. These findings suggest that concurrent tasks only interfere with each other, and need to be selectively attended to, if they are competing for the resources of the same processor. In other words, in certain circumstances we have the ability to ‘divide’ our overall attentional capacity between different tasks.

There are times when to do things at once seems easy because at least one of the tasks is automatic, in other words, you have learnt through practice to do the task without even thinking about it. An example of such task might be driving a car, riding a bike etc.

Posner and Snyder (1975) suggest that performance on a task is automatic if it can occur without the intention of awareness of the performer and does not interfere with other mental activities.

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If the experimenter did this study again, to make it better the experimenter should pick an even number of males and females to do the experiment on both conditions to avoid gender effects. The experimenter should get participants that are around a similar age e.g. 16-18 so age difference don’t take part in the outcome of the results, as people older could be more intelligent than the younger ones. Also more participants as twenty are small and not very generalisable.

Implications of this study

There are implications of this study for example advertising, they advertise their product or company by putting the good offers in big bold writing so it would catch an audiences attention, and put the information that they don’t want the audience to read in small writing at the bottom of the screen or paper, so when you watch or read the advert you automatically look at the big writing as its automatic processing. A lot of insurance adverts do this.

Wilding, J.M. (1982) perception – from sense to object, London: Hutchinson.

Shiffrin,R.M. and Schneider,W. (1977) controlled and automatic human information processing II: perceptual learning, automatic attending and a general theory, psychological review, 84, pp. 127-90.

Scheibe, KE,Shaver,PR and Carrier, S.C (1967) colour association values and response interference on variants of the Stroop test, Acta psychological 26, 286,-95

Stroop, J.R. (1935) studies of interference in serial verbal reactions, journal of experimental psychology, 18, 643-62

Cherry. E.C. (1953) ‘some experiments on the recognition of speech, with one and two ears’, journal of the acoustical society of America 25, pp. 975-9

Posner, M.I. and snyder, C.R.R. (1975) ‘facilitation and inhibition in the processing of signals’, in P.M.A. Rabbit and S. Dornic (eds) attention and performance: V. London: academic press.

Allport, D.A., Antonis, B. and Reynolds, P. (1972) ‘on the division of attention: a disproof of the single channel hypothesis’, quaterly journal of experimental psychology, 24, pp. 225-35

Psychology for A-Level

Mike Cardwell

Liz Clark

Claire Meldrum

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