Some psychologists believe that we simply rehearse things and that is how we remember. By rehearsing it leaves our short-term memory and enters our long-term memory. This does not explain why we forget things or why certain things help us to remember. The effect of context forgetting is known as context dependent forgetting or cue dependent forgetting. We need the right cues to access information. Good evidence for cue dependent forgetting comes from Tulving (1966). Tulving read people lists of words from various categories e.g. furniture or animals. The category names were also presented but the participants were not asked to remember the category names just the examples e.g. chair, table etc. They found that, in free recall those participants who were given the paper with the category names as headings remembered more words than those just given a blank sheet of paper. This demonstrates how cues can guide information in memory that we were unable to otherwise.
Tulving (1974) also distinguished between context dependent recall and state dependent recall. Context dependent recall relates to externally generated cues from the environment. Godden and Baddeley (1975) asked people to learn lists of words either on land or in 20ft of water. Four minutes later participants were given a test of free recall, either on land or underwater. Godden and Baddeley found that recall was 50% better if learning and recall took place in the same environment then if they occurred in different environments.
State dependent recall relates to internally generated cues such as your physical or emotional state at the time of learning. Aggleton and Waskett (1999) had participants revisit a museum that they hadn’t visited since six or seven years earlier. Visitors in the museum experience a variety of strong smells as they passed around the center. This included the smell of burnt wood, of acrid apples and of a fish market. Three separate groups of participants were given a questionnaire to fill out on two separate occasions, five minutes apart.
Group one completed the questionnaire, whilst being presented with the smells in a bottle and then again in the presence of unrelated smells. Group two filled out the questionnaire firstly with the unrelated smells and then again with the related smells. Group three fill out the questionnaires with no present odours. Group one showed the best recall, with their second attempt not much different than the first. Group two as expected showed better recall on the second questionnaire then on the first one and group three showed the worst recall on both of them.
I have enjoyed learning about cognitive psychology and one of the things I have enjoyed the most is about memory and forgetting. I thought it would be interesting to see if people do need the right cues to learn, and does this affect the way we remember things. In this experiment I want to investigate whether cues help people to remember information like the research of Godden and Baddeley, and Tulving.
Aim The aim of the investigation is to see if participants learn more words listening to music then in silence. Hypothesis Participants will learn words more easily when listening to music compared to participants who learn in silence. Null Hypothesis Any differences in the number of words learnt are due to chance factors. Method and Design An experiment was the easiest method to use because I am trying to establish cause and effect. I am also trying to control conditions and with a laboratory experiment it is easy to do this. I am using a repeated measures design because I need fewer participants and I can eliminate extraneous variables.
Variables Independent Variable (IV): Whether or not music is played to the participants while learning and recalling. Dependent Variable (DV): The amount of words recalled. Participants The participants were between the ages of 17-19 years old, full time students who study AS/A2 levels in a sixth form college. I used 20 participants. I used an opportunity sample as I just chose the participants who were available at the time. I have designed a consent form for the participants to sign, to say that they take part in this experiment. They were able to withdraw and were debriefed.