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Does chunking help with memory?

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Does chunking help with memory? This study is concerned with the cognitive approach, in particular the are of memory, and how the arrangement of data into organised and disorganised categories affects memory and the ability to store and recall data. Research Short-term memory is believed to have a capacity of 7?2 'chunks' of information, which can remain there for approximately 20 seconds without rehearsal. Chunking is a process that apparently increases the capacity of short-term memory by relating and combining the incoming information to knowledge that we already possess in long term memory. In chunking we organise information giving it a structure and meaning t*t did not already have, so although we can only recall around 7 chunks a meaningful chunk can be very large Previous research has been done by other psychologists into the affect of organisation on memory. In 1953 Bousfield asked participants to try and learn 60 words consisting of 4 categories, (animals, peoples names, professions and vegetables) with 15 examples of each all mixed up. Bousfield found that when participants free recalled (recalled in any order) they tended to cluster similar items, Eg; if someone recalled 'onion' it was very likely that other vegetables followed. Although participants had not been told of the categories, the fact they recalled in clusters suggested that they had tried to organise the data. Bousfield called this trend 'categorical clustering'. Another study took place in 1967 by Mandler, where subjects were given lists of random words and asked to sort them into a given number of categories (between 2 and 7). Once sorted the participants were asked to recall as many of the words as possible. The results showed that recall was poorest for those who used 2 categories and increased steadily by about 4 words per extra category. ...read more.


Controls All variables excluding the independent variable must be controlled and kept consistent for each participant. This will ensure the results obtained are as accurate and reliable as possible. * Each participant is given the same duration to memorize and recall the data, namely 2 minutes * The task will be carried out in the recreational area of the college for each participant. * The researcher will communicate with the participant using the prepared standardized instructions so all participants are treated the same. * Each participant will be debriefed and thanked in the same manner using the standardized instructions. Table of Results The tables below show the number of words recalled by each participant for both the organized and disorganized list. Organized List Disorganized List Participant No. Words recalled Participant No. Words recalled 1 16 1 6 2 16 2 6 3 17 3 7 4 14 4 7 5 17 5 5 6 15 6 6 7 14 7 6 8 16 8 5 9 15 9 6 10 16 10 7 11 16 11 6 12 12 12 5 13 15 13 6 14 16 14 4 15 14 15 5 16 17 16 7 17 14 17 6 18 13 18 7 19 18 19 7 20 16 20 6 Measures of Central Tendency Organized List Disorganized List Mean 15.35 6 Median 16 6 Mode 16 6 Range 6 3 15.35 ?? = 0.697 * 100 ? 70% is the average number of words recalled from the organized list. 22 6 ?? = 0.272 * 100 ? 27% is the average number of words recalled from the disorganized list. 22 Results Analysis The results displayed in the table clearly show that when words are arranged in an organized structure it does improve memory and the ability to store and recall information. ...read more.


This consists of 2 groups of people which are matched by age gender background etc. i.e. - for every person there is someone to match them in the opposite group, Also I could use a wider range of participants of different ages and people from different parts of the country (they would still need to be matched for the other group) Also I could test a larger number of people than 20 per list. * Generalization of Findings A generalization could be made from my results that organization does indeed prove to increase the capacity of memory and the ability to recall. However it needs to be taken into account that the study was conducted in one small area and participants were all students of similar age and social background, so it can be argued that it is unreasonable and inaccurate to generalize and apply the results to everyone. For example, it would not be reasonable to apply the results of a small select group of young adults to the older generation. The study on the whole was not a natural scenario so it isn't reasonable to conclude that it is how people would behave in real life. * Application to Everyday Life This study could be applied to help people in everyday life. Some ideas of how it could be used is to aid in exam revision for example, by revising from notes arranged in an organised manner should organize the date in the brain and promote better recall in exams and therefore better exam results. Another idea is that it could help people with learning difficulties, if they learn from material arranged in an organized and structured format using subheadings etc it will give it a structure and meaning it did not already have and it should be easier to learn and store the information. ...read more.

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