Aim: To see whether giving people a displacement activity before recalling the words would affect the number of the last five words in a list of words that are remembered. Hypothesis Alternative (Ha): People who recall words in a list with the displacement activity are less likely to recall the last five words in the list than those people who didn’t have the displacement activity. Null (Ho): Any difference in the number of the last five words remembered by people who experienced the displacement activity and those who didn’t, will be due to chance factors.
Rationale: I am doing this experiment to find out whether having a displacement activity would affect the number of words remembered from the list. I chose this experiment as I am interested in finding out more about memory. I am going to the Glanzer and Cunitz displacement activity but changing the activity involved in the experiment instead of asking participants to count back from 100 in 3’s like Glanzer and Cunitz I will ask them to recall their three times table up to sixty.
Background Research: In 1966 two psychologists Glanzer and Cunitz experimented a displacement activity, this is where they asked participants to listen to a list of words then asked some of them to recall the words straight away and others to count back from 100 in 3s then to recall the words. They compared the words remembered and what position they were in the list. Their study is used as supporting evidence for Atkinson and Shiffrin’s multi-store model (1968).
Atkinson and Shiffrin’s model sees memory as being split into three parts: sensory memory, short term memory and long term memory. The multi-store model works by the sensory memory absorbing information, some memories aren’t absorbed at this stage as there is simply too much information to remember, these memories then get passed onto the short term memory where it is stored but only for a short amount of time. The short term memory can only hold 5-9 items at once so has a limited capacity. If these items are rehearsed they are then passed on and stored in the long term memory.
Memories can only pass on to the long term memory by rehearsal, words can be lost from short term memory by displacement. This is because the short term memory has a limited capacity of only up to 9 items in it so as new information is received some has to be displaced and lost to make room. Words can be lost from the long term memory by decay or interference. Primacy and recency effect was investigated by Murdoch 1962. This is where the participants would show the highest recall for the first few items and the last few items.
Primacy and recency effect is shown in the multi-store model because the first few items will be rehearsed and go into the long term memory and the last items in the list would be stored in the short term memory so you would recall them first then the ones at the beginning of the list. You shouldn’t remember the words in the middle of the list as they wouldn’t have been rehearsed so they wouldn’t have gone through to the short term memory and as the short term has a limited capacity the middle words would have been lost. They would have been displaced by the other words coming after them in the list.
Glanzer and Cunitz carried out their displacement activity which was to count from 100 backwards in 3’s after listening to the list of words, and then asked to recall the words. The primacy effect should be shown but the recency effect shouldn’t be shown because the first few items would be stored in the long term memory and the others would be displaced from the short term memory by doing the counting. Method Design: My independent variable is the displacement activity I am carrying out which is to do the three times table up to sixty.
My dependant variable is the number of the last five words remembered from the list We chose an independent group design because we had to split the group of participants into two groups and the experiment consisted of different individuals. I chose an independent group design because we couldn’t use the participants twice as in the Repeated measures design as after participating once, the participant would know how to do the experiment so this would affect their result in the second experiment resulting in unreliable results.
Participants: I used 20 participants all of which were in year 7 at South Wolds School so they were all aged 11-12 years old. I split the group up into two groups one of which had a displacement activity and the other group didn’t have the displacement activity. I chose to have the same amount of each girls and boys to make it a fair test so I used 10 girls and 10 boys, in each group I had 5 girls and 5 boys so I had the same amount of each sex in each group.
I chose to use 20 volunteers from a year 7 class which were all randomly picked from the volunteers in tutor group to do the experiment. I only chose the people that volunteered. So I asked who wanted to take part in this experiment first. I then made sure there was the same amount of boys as there were girls taking part in the experiment. Procedure: First of all I got a year 7 class of one of the teachers and I chose 20 participants from the group making sure to pick 10 girls and 10 boys. I then split up the 20 pupils into two groups with 5 of each sex in each group.
I then did the non displacement activity group first individually. I sat the participant down and ask them just listen to a list of words that I was going to read out. I had standardised instructions for each of my participants so that they all received exactly the same introduction to the experiment. The standardised instructions were ” hello I am doing a psychology experiment and I would just like a few minutes of your time I just want to ask u to listen carefully to a list of words I am going to read.
” When I finished reading out the list I then ask the participant to recall as many of the words on the list that they can remember. On my chart I ticked which words they could remember from the list. After doing the first 10 of my participants I then did the displacement activity with the other group of pupils, this is to remove the last 5-9 words from the list which will be stored in the short term memory as they wouldn’t have been rehearsed so will not be in long term memory.
Thinking about doing you three times table will knock the last five words. My displacement activity was to do the three times table up to the number sixty. First I read the list of words again as previously then asked them to do the displacement activity. Then after the participant had done that they were then asked to recall the as many of words they can remember from the list previously read. I then ticked all the words the participants recalled.
After carrying out both the experiments I then gathered all the participants together and I debriefed them to explain what they have been doing in their experiments and answer any questions if they have any. Controls: My controls were that I made sure that I picked the same amount of girls as I did boys and I only used one year so as not to let age affect the results. I also made sure that all participants received the same briefing before taking part in the experiment and debriefing after having done it. I tried to control their environment as much as I possibly could.
In the experiment I used the same words, the same place and I carried out the experiment on the same day in order to make the environment for each person as similar as possible. If it was carried out on two different occasions other factors could have interfered with the participants recall e. g. the environment used could be busier on one day than the other this might cause the participant s to become distracted and not concentrate on the words. I asked the participants to volunteer so as not to force any body into doing something that they didn’t want to do.
I also told them that they could leave the experiment at any time they wanted to in order to fit in with the ethical guidelines as the participants were not forced to do anything they didn’t want to. Apparatus: what I used for this experiment was a list of words, a chart to write down answers and a pen. Commentary: It is clear to see that there are trends on the graphs and on the summary table. You can see on the summary table that there are higher results in the non displacement activity meaning that the people taking part in this would have remembered more of the words
Relationship to Hypothesis: I can accept my alternative hypothesis which is: People who recall words in a list without displacement activity are more likely to recall the last five words in the list than those people who have had the displacement activity. The alternative hypothesis can be shown because the people who had the displacement activity didn’t remember as many of the last five words unlike the people who didn’t have a displacement activity.