An experiment to investigate whether word connotation truly does have an effect on memory

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Internal Assessment

Psychology HL

An experiment to investigate whether word connotation truly does have an effect on memory

Bobae Choi

May 2012

1897 words


        This replication of Loftus and Palmer’s (1974) experiment has the aim to investigate if word connotation truly does have an effect on memory and was experimented on twenty (ten males, ten females) grade twelve history students in a high school in Langley, B.C. The research hypothesis is that speed estimates will be statistically significant depending on the aggressiveness or passiveness of the word. As a result of being an experiment, the independent variable is the connotation of the word (smashed or contacted) and the dependent variable is the speed estimate from the train when crashing into the school bus. The numerical descriptive statistics used range and median because ordinal data was present. Two results were produced from the median, with the range produced 71 for smashed and 51 for contacted and the verb smashed being 40 and 50 for the word contacted. Using the Mann Whitney U test for inferential statistics, the critical value of U was found to be less than both the smallest values of U1 and U2; as a result the null hypothesis shall be accepted therefore concluding that there is no significant statistical difference on memory through positive and negative connotations in this experiment. For this reason, this experiment failed in showing that connotations have any significant effect on the schema and reconstructive memory theory.

Table of Contents

Abstract                                                                                             pg.1

Introduction                                                                                             pg.2

Method                                                                                             pg.5

        Design                                                                                             pg.5

        Participants                                                                                     pg.5

        Materials                                                                                     pg.6

        Procedure                                                                                     pg.6

Results                                                                                                     pg.7

Discussion                                                                                             pg.8

References                                                                                           pg.10

Appendices                                                                                           pg.11

        Appendix I                                                                                   pg.11

        Appendix II                                                                                   pg.12

        Appendix III                                                                                   pg.12

        Appendix IV                                                                                   pg.13

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        Appendix V                                                                                   pg.13

        Appendix VI                                                                                   pg.13

        Appendix VII                                                                                   pg.14

        Appendix VIII                                                                                   pg.14

        Appendix IX                                                                                   pg.15

        Appendix X                                                                                   pg.16

        Appendix XI                                                                                   pg.17


        Memory (as a mental process) can be defined as when a living being has the capability to recall events prior in his/her life. Schema is defined as a representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline or model in one’s head (by the English Oxford Dictionary) and reconstructive memory is recall that is hypothesized to work by storing abstract features which are then used to construct ...

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