Images are recalled better than words

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Images are recalled better than words.


The aim of this experiment is to find out if images are recalled better than words. In order to test this, I conducted a lab experiment using 15 participants. There were two parts to the experiment. For the first part, participants were shown a list of words which they had to recall and then they were shown images. Subjects were given one minute to recall the words and images. The results were statistical findings that showed that participants were significantly better at remembering the pictures than the words. The overall conclusion is that images are recalled better than words which proves the experimental hypothesis. These findings may apply to a number of situations, including teaching methods as well as an aid for studying. Further studies may include a closer look at gender and/or age differences for short-term memory recall using the same method.



Conrad (1964) suggested that short-term memory codes all information acoustically, that is, according to sound. Visual information is encoded (transformed) to its acoustic (sound/language) codes. Shulman (1970) disagreed and thought that short-term memory also coded information visually and according to semantics (meaning). Heyer and Barrett (1974) suggested that visual images that are difficult to acoustically code may also be stored briefly in short term memory.

Conrad conducted a study to prove his claim. he showed participants a list of consonants, for about ¾ of a second. Participants were then asked to recall what they had seen. Conrad found that errors of recall were linked to letters which had a similar sound. Bs were mistaken for Ps 62 times, Vs were mistaken for Ps 83 times but Ss were mistaken for Ps only 2 times. This suggests that visually presented information is encoded according to acoustics/sounds. Conrad referred to these errors as Acoustic Confusion.

Shulman also conducted a research suggesting that Conrad was incorrect in proposing that all encoding in short term memory was acoustic. Shulman presented participants visually with lists of 10 words. Recall was then tested using cue or probe words which were one of three types. Firstly, some of the probe words used were homonyms (words which sound the same but have different meanings, for example: ball and bawl).Secondly, some probe words were synonyms (different words with same/similar meaning, for example: talk and speak).Thirdly some of the probe words used were identical to the ones on the original stimulus list.

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Similar numbers of errors of recall from the stimulus list was made for homonym and synonym probes. This suggests that the semantic encoding (meaning) as well as acoustic encoding occurs in the short term memory.

Both Conrad and Shulman's research were laboratory experiments. They therefore lack ecological validity due to controlled artificial environments. Participants were undergraduate students and therefore unrepresentative of the general population. They may have exhibited demand characteristics and experimenter bias may have occurred as the experiment did not employ blind conditions. The results may also have been influenced by individual differences or participant variables. The research has ...

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