Jasleen Chaggar LVI 10


Page2 Abstract

Page3 Introduction, Experimental Hypothesis and Null hypothesis

Page 4 Method: Design

Page 5 Ethical considerations, Participants, Materials and Procedure

Page 6 Results

Page 7 Discussion and references

Page 8 Appendix 1, Appendix 2 and Appendix 3

Page 9 Appendix 4 and Appendix 5

Page 10 Appendix 6

Page 11 Appendix 7

Page 12 Appendix 8


Glanzer and Cunitz concluded that the existence of a distracter task, affects the accurate recall of words on the Short-term memory from the end of the list of words.

             The aim of the study is to investigate the effect of a distracter task from the recall of a list of words on the STM, of a selection of students.

              A repeated measures design was used and counterbalancing was carried out to control for any order effects. The participants were a sample of 14-15 year old students at a grammar school in Birmingham.

           Without a distracter task, participants recalled 0.8 more words on average than participants with a distracter task.  

            I conclude that a distracter task affects the recall of a list of words on the STM. It is easier to recall when a distracter task is not present because rehearsal is not prevented.

            This study lacks ecological validity due to the fact that remembering of word lists are not true to everyday situations.


Memory is the normal function of retaining data. It is a storage system that holds all information we know and learn.

Blakemore expresses the fundamental importance of memory, “without the capacity to remember and to learn, it is difficult to learn , it is difficult to imagine what life would be like, whether it could be called living at all.” If we didn’t have memory all our experiences would be lost and nothing could be learned.

        The best known explanation of how data enters our memories is Atkinson and Shiffrin’s multistore model of memory. They suggested that information first appears in sensory store (SM). IT is then transferred to short term memory (STM) and, if it is rehearsed it is placed in long term memory (LTM). IF information is not rehearsed, then information is displaced and lost. Glanver and Cunitz (1966) conducted a study to measure the recall from Short term memory and Long term memory. This supported the multistore model of memory, and thus showed the existence of two separate functioning entities. Glanver and Cuntiz presented two groups of participants with the same list of words. One group free recalled the material immediately after the presentation, while the other group free recalled after 30 seconds. In those 30 seconds a “distracter task” was used, where the participants had to count backwards in 3’s. This prevented rehearsal. The participants who free recalled immediately after presentation, generally recalled more words accurately than those with a distracter task present. When the results were plotted on a graph, the results were shown on a serial position curve. Participants typically recalled those items from the end of the list first, and got more of these correct than earlier items (the recency effect). Items from the beginning of the list were recalled quite well relative to those in the middle ( the primary effect), but not as well as those at the end. Poorest recall for those in the middle. However, for participants who recalled the distracter task, this prevented rehearsal of words, so the recency effect disappeared. The primary effect was unaffected. Recency effect demonstrates recall from STM, primary effect demonstrates recall from LTM.

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                The aim of the study I am conducting, is to investigate the effect of a distractor task from the recall of a list of words on the STM, of a selection of students

Experimental hypothesis  

There will be a higher percentage of accurately recalled words at the end of the list by participants from the condition with a distracter task, i.e. reciting alphabet backwards, than from the condition when no distracter task is used. From Glanver and Cuntiz’s study, it gives me an idea of what direction my results will go; therefore it is a one-tailed hypothesis.


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