Memory Experiment

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An experiment on memory recall.


The aim of my research is to analyse and look into further detail on how different encoding styles affect our memory recall. This is linked to Atkinson and Shiffrin who had a multi store memory theory which suggests that there are three separate memory stores: sensory memory, short term memory and long term memory. In this particular theory I will be focusing more on the short term memory store as that is what the experiment is based on. According to their theory, by remembering words using our acoustic sense we remember seven words (± two words) when listening for a duration of 15-30 seconds. We do this from encoding. This is where information is changed (or ended) so that we can make sense of it. Light waves are converted into images, sound waves are converted into words, and words are converted into meanings. Once encoded the information can be stored.


The aim of my experiment is to explore the different encoding styles (acoustic and visual) and to find out if it has an effect on our memory recall.


As Atkinson and Shiffrin estimated that we could remember around 7 words when spoken to us. I think that I could do a lot more if I can look at the image so I can re-visualize them when trying to recall them. Therefore my prediction is that the participants will recall more words visually shown to them as opposed to the words verbally shown.



I am using a laboratory experiment for this with 24 participants. A laboratory experiment is good because I can manipulate the variables (Independent variable and dependent variable); the procedure is standardized and therefore replicable making the experiment reliable. I will use 15 different words for each experiment. To make this test as fair as possible I will relate the words on each experiment. For instance, if I used the word cat for the visual memory test I would use something like dog for the acoustic test. I will try to vary the 15 words on the separate tests and throughout the 30 I will make sure that nothing gets repeated. My independent variables are the visual and acoustic memory aids as these are the things I am changing and analyzing. My dependent variable is the amount of words that are remembered as this is the thing I am measuring. The amount of time I give the participants and the amount of words I ask them to remember are all control variables because I need to make sure that these are kept the same in order for my test to be as accurate as possible

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 In this experiment the participants I will use are a group of year elevens at a secondary school. They will be selected by opportunity sampling as this will be the easiest way to get the experiment running as soon as possible. The advantages of opportunity sampling are that it allows a larger quantity of sampling much more easily and quickly. Usually the results collected are quite accurately therefore it can be a much more convenient.


I will use 30 everyday objects, 15 for each experiment. For the visual, I will put the pictures on a PowerPoint ...

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