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First Year Psychology Students' Memory for The News as a Function of Media of Presentation.

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First Year Psychology Students' Memory for The News as a Function of Media of Presentation ABSTRACT 7O psychology students were presented with a selection of four news stories in three different media; print form, audio form and audio visual form. Participants were tested immediately after exposure to the news to measure retention of story details, via a questionnaire. Subsequent results showed significant differences in information recall between the medium of presentation. Recall of detail was greatest from print, and worst from audio mode. It was made clear that when in print form, information is better absorbed, processed and retained than when in audio-visual mode and audio form. INTRODUCTION As the world's technology grows, and the public's demand for information is ever increasing, the news is presented in increasingly varied media. The news is a key factor in modern day society, with the vast majority of the U.K population being exposed to it at least once every day. Despite the various forms in which news can be accessed, for example radio, print and even music, it can be gathered from public opinion surveys that the vast majority of individuals endorse television as their most important source of news information. Subjective views of audiences indicate that television is an important news source, from which they learn a lot. Yet, research in the past has shown that on the whole, individuals frequently fail to remember very much from television broadcasts. One survey of people living in the San Francisco area, where respondents were telephoned shortly after the evening's main broadcast and asked, "What do you recall from tonight's broadcast?", showed 51% could not recall any stories. ...read more.


The questions tested remembrance of where and why certain events occurred. The participants then were awarded two points for each correct answer, one point for a partially correct answer and zero for an incorrect answer, giving a maximum score of forty points. Participants- A total of 70 subjects were used in the experiment, all of whom were University of Bath first year psychology students, with ages ranging from 18 to 40. Group A,B and C each had three males in them, and subsequently contained 22, 19 and 20 females respectively. Procedure- Once seated, participants were given a letter which referred to their group- A,B or C. Group B were then removed from the room, and given scripts which they had four minutes to read. They remained in the building's foyer until time was up. Groups A and C were presented with a video with sound on a projected colour screen in the main room. Group A (audio only) were then instructed to cover their eyes as to only listen to the audio from the video, whilst Group C were allowed to watch the video and listen. The exposure times for each group were equated across each media. Once all groups were re-assembled, they were handed with a questionnaire which they had twenty minutes to complete. Subjects then were told the correct answers and marked their own tests. They then handed in the scripts with their group letter and total score on, from which the results were calculated. RESULTS Table 1 (shown below) shows the processed data gained from the experiment. The table presents the means from each group's results on the questionnaire, and the standard deviation of each group. ...read more.


A theory put forward by A. Paivio is that of Dual Coding Theory(Paivio and Csapio 1973), which helps to explain why the hypothesis in this report was partially disproved(in that audio-visual average was higher than audio). Dual Coding theory suggest two cognitive sub-systems, one which deals imagery and the other specializes in language. In this case, Dual Coding theory would assume that due to two sources of information(audio and visual) a were presented to group C, the group members had more information to gather, and furthermore, each source re-enforces the other. This means that the visual imagery would be re-enforced by the audio source, but would itself re-enforce the audio, therefore creating a circumstance in which information is easily absorbed and processed and consequently retained. The investigation could have been hindered and distorted by certain factors encountered. Firstly, Group B were kept in a seating area in a building's foyer whilst reading the transcript. This could have proved to be distracting due to events outside of the building visible through the windows and the coming and going of unrelated individuals through the foyer. Perhaps a closed room would have been more suitable to use for the reading group. The audio feed was not perfect either, as subjects had to sit with other group members and cover their eyes whilst listening to the video, this could result in distancing from the source and loss of focus hence distorting the results. The questionnaires were also marked by the subjects themselves, once told the correct answers. Therefore there was the possibility for cheating, and so the results themselves may be incorrect. This could be improved by using external markers to score the questionnaires, as they have no bias towards the result. Future research could focus on whether Dual Coding theory is a valid argument, and the extent to which it operates. ...read more.

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