Categorisation in Long-Term Memory Essay

Published: 2019-11-22 03:31:42
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Category: Memory

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The method used was a field experiment as it took part in a classroom. This method was chosen because the independent variable can be manipulated to find the effect on the dependent variable, which can draw conclusions about cause and effect. Doing this allows reasonable control of extraneous variables and where the experimenter has a significant amount of control. An independent groups design was most appropriate because it prevents order effects and demand characteristics to a certain extent. There will be two groups, a control group who will be shown a random list of words and an experiment group who will receive a categorised list.

This enables me to compare the number of words each group can recall and therefore claim the cause and effect. Independent variable Whether participants are presented with an organised list of words or not. Dependant variable Memory as measured by the number of words the participant recall from the list of words. Participants It was an opportunity sample of International school students from 13 to 14 years old. 10 participants were allocated into each condition randomly (condition 1: control group who received a random list of words, condition 2: experiment group with an organised list of categorised words).

Each condition had 5 females and 5 males. Anyone that was available was asked if they would take part in the experiment. None of the participants dropped out and only 2 students refused to take part, because they were not free at that moment. This sampling method was chosen because it was quick and convenient. By using independent designs, some extraneous variables were controlled. Order effects were prevented since different participants were allocated in different conditions. Having clear and concise standardised instructions reduced confusion. The procedures were standardised to reduce any experimenter effects.

The room was kept in a constant temperature to reduce it from possibly affecting participants memory. Students were ranged from 13-14 years old. Other noise from outside the room may have distorted the results and therefore all windows and doors were closed so that as little noise as possible was allowed into the room. The group of participants who received the organised lists of words recalled more words than the participants with the randomly categorised list. It was distinctive from the graph that people given categorised words recalled more words than people who received a random list.

The results support my hypothesis of better recall from students if words were categorised. The relationship between the independent and dependant variable was if the words were categorised, the higher the recall. Discussion Validity Validity is if the measuring apparatus measures what its meant to measure. By looking at the number of words remembered, its an indicator of memory as it is clear that the more words you recall the more words were remembered, this is called face validity and its purpose is to see if the experiment is testing what its supposed to measure.

I chose 3 categories of words to use in my experiment and I think that they were the correct categories to use as they were all only 1 syllable and are generally used in everyday life. This is related to construct validity which is whether the method can be used to support the variable that is being measured. (If the experiment was replicated, we would see similar results) I think that I chose the words that best measure organisation and that my test was valid. Ecological validity is if the experiment measures a naturally occurring behaviour.

This was a field experiment which has good ecological validity but its not usual for someone to be taken into a room and to participate in a test on a daily life setting. The participants were aware they were taking part in a psychology experiment so the results could have been affected by demand characteristics. Suggestions for improving validity Participants were aware they were talking part in a psychology experiment which could have created demand characteristics and possible experimenter bias. To obtain a higher ecological validity I could have applied my study to school/everyday life.

For example, asking participants to recall a list of ingredients that they had used to bake a cake. This could prevent demand characteristics and experimenter bias as participants might not be aware this that it is a psychology experiment and could possibly make my results more valid. Doing this however, would make it harder to control any extraneous variables and the study would be more difficult to replicate and standardise. Reliability Reliability is whether the measuring method can measure consistently. If the experiment was repeated, similar results would appear. I have increased reliability using the same words in both lists.

Two different lists of words decreases reliability as some words are easier to remember than others. Therefore using the same words will reduce this effect. In the list of organised words it was obvious that the experiment was testing memory which led to demand characteristics. The experiment were standardised which meant its easy to replicate. However, because participants were already told that they were taking part in a psychology experiment on memory, they knew what the experiment was about and could try harder to perform better on the test (demand characteristics).

Improving reliability If I were to choose a different sampling method results would be much more representative, because my sample was an opportunity sample with only people who were free at that moment. I could have chosen a random sample to increase reliability since there are different levels of cognitive abilities in students and not only people who were free. This method could be done by picking 10 males and females randomly (picking out names from hat) from each year group.

This means a total of 70 subjects would be used instead of just 20 and doing this would give me more reliable results and a much more representative sample of school students. Also, to reduce demand characteristics the purpose of the experiment shouldnt have been told to the participants until after the experiment, which is called debriefing. Implications of study Bousfield found that we have semantic organisation in our long-term memory. Bower et al found that organising words into a categorised hierarchy would help to improve recall.

In this study I found that participants recalled more words when the words on this list were organised. This means that the findings of my experiment support both Bowers and Bousfields findings. This implies that there is in fact a short and long-term memory and that there is some kind of semantic organisation of the information in the long-term memory which can improve peoples re-call. Generalisation of findings Target population is the age and group of people an experimenter plans to generalise their findings on. In my experiment the target population was Island School students between the ages 13-14 years old.

This was hard to generalise due to the sampling method. The method was biased because only students who were available and around at that time were asked to participate. This could be improved if a larger sample of students were used and not only people who were free to participate. My experiment only involved 20 people, which was too little to generalise a school of 1500 students. It was hard to generalise beyond the target population, as there are individual differences, psychological differences and cultural differences between much of the population.

In addition my sample was too small to generalise beyond target population. Applications of everyday life It was found that an organised list of categorized words would be more efficient to remember than a randomly placed list of words. This can be applied to everyday life, for example when teachers teach children they have to teach in a systematical order so it is easier to recall the majority of information. As for a high school there is a syllabus which is organized by categorising the same type of information together. This is the most efficient way for remembering information and recalling it for exams.

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