“The ability to process and retrieve information is known as memory”1. The most influential explanation of memory is Atkinson’s and Shiffrin’s models of memory. This theory suggests that there are separate memory stores, short term memory (STM) and long term memory (LTM). The basis of the STM store is acoustic where information is processed acoustically, in contrast the LTM store processes information on the basis of the meaning of the material. In other words, meaningless items are incapable of being stored for long durations by the LTM.
This idea of separate memory stores has been investigated on several occasions and findings do seem to be consistent. However although this explanation does seem to be empirically supported, most of this evidence were derived from studies where participants were tested under highly artificial conditions. However in every day life memory processes come to us naturally, for this reason the environment we’re expected to recall in, is important and thus affects findings.
An alternative approach therefore is to emphasize the role of established information as an aid to integrating new information. Bransford and Johnson’s assessment of people’s recall for a particular piece of text shows a clear link between understanding and memory. Thus we “remember material which we understand and we understand material which we remember”. Craik and Lockhart (1972) put forward an alternative explanation to Atkinson’s and Shiffrin’s model of memory.
Craik and Lockhart claimed that there are different levels of processing which determine how well the stimulus material is recalled. The first level of processing is at the ‘shallow level’ where the surface features of a stimulus are analysed superficially. The second level of processing is at the ‘phonemic level’ where a verbal stimulus is analysed according to its sound. The third level of processing is at a ‘deep level’ where the semantic features of a stimulus are analysed more extensively.
Therefore the model proposes that the more deeply information is processed; the more likely it is to be retained. It’s generally accepted that this model does contain some truth, and that perception, attention and memory are interdependent. The model however has been directly contradicted by Morris (1977), who found that rhyming recognition tests produce better recall when they are processed at the shallow level than the deep level. It seems that the relevance of the processing is influential. Therefore the present study aims to see what processes are used in memory recall.
Hypothesis One Participants will have a higher recall in the cued recall condition rather than the free recall condition. Hypothesis Two METHOD Design The study was a related design experiment, with two conditions testing one independent variable. The participants were required to complete both conditions of the experiment; these conditions were free recall and cued recall of the words. Participants In total there were 12 participants, all of which were psychology students in their first year of their degree.
The sample of participants consisted of a mixture of both sexes and all were eighteen plus. The sample was an ‘opportunity sample’ in which they were the only available participants that were willing to take part. Apparatus and Materials * Participant Response Sheets: These consisted of a list of words that the participant was required to recall in the immediate and cued recall conditions. In addition they were also required to rate the difficulty of the tasks and how surprised they were. (See appendix for a copy of the response sheet)
Calculator: This was used to calculate the value of T Computer: MS Word was used to write the report up and MS Excel was used to analyse the results. Procedure 1. The researcher met up with the participant in the university canteen and the study was conducted there. 2. The participant was given a copy of the first Response sheet, which contained a list of random words. Beside each word in the list, there was either a letter M or R, which required the participant to either find a rhyming word or a meaningful word to the one given.
(See appendix for a copy of response sheet one. ) 3. Once the participant had completed this, the researcher collected their responses, and gave the participant response sheet two. This required the participant to specify how surprised they were, when they found out that they had to recall the words from the previous sheet. It also required them to rate how difficult they found the rhyming and meaningful words task. Once they had done this, the researcher asked them to recall as many of the words possible from the previous sheet.
(See appendix for a copy of response sheet two) 4. The researcher then, as discretely as possible, prepared response sheet three. This consisted of a list of words that the participant had failed to recall, in which it contained a balanced number of the M words and R words, which the participant had associated with the original list provided. 5. Once response sheet three was prepared the participant was again required to recall the original list of words but this time the researcher had given them a list of cues to help them recall the words.
6. When the participant had completed the cued recall or was unable to recall any further words, the researcher collected their response sheet and thanked them for their time in participating and debriefed them on the purpose of the experiment. 7. The results were then analysed by using a related t test. Ethics Ethically the study is good as no participants are being harmed or deceived during the course of the study. Furthermore participant data was also kept anonymous.