The aim of this experiment is to test whether more words are recalled from a list of categorised words compared to a list of words which are non-categorised. It is based upon an investigation carried out in 1953 by Bousfield allowing free recall where participants were given the opportunity to recall words in any order. A sample of twenty students will be used from the sixth form at Hall Cross School. In order to make the experiment reliable ten males and ten females will be used.
The experimental hypothesis is that a greater number of words will be recalled from a list of related words in contrast to unrelated words.The null hypothesis is that there will be no difference in the number of words recalled from either list.The mean number of words recalled from the related list was greater than the unrelated list and therefore the experimental hypothesis was supported by the findings of the experiment and they rejected the null hypothesis.INTRODUCTIONInformation that we may have stored, we can not always recall when demanded. To make it accessible some order must be imposed on the complex mass of information stored in the long-term memory. It must be labelled, sorted and organised in some way.
A dominant form of organisation of information being stored is categorical clustering with items being grouped according to the semantic category they belong to.In 1953 Bousfield carried out an investigation on organisation in the memory allowing free recall. He gave participants a list of sixty items to learn, within the list were fifteen names of animals, fifteen names of people, fifteen professions and fifteen vegetables all mixed up together. Participants were asked to recall as many of the words as possible in any order. Despite the categories being all mixed together participants presented them in clusters of words belonging to the same category. Bousfield concluded that such categorical clusters are indicative of semantic organisation in memory.
The aim of this experiment is to test the affect of memorising words from a list of categorised words in comparison to a list of non-categorised words.The experimental hypothesis is that a greater number of words will be recalled from the list containing categorised words in contrast to the list containing non-categorised words.The null hypothesis is that there will be no difference in the number of words recalled from each list.METHODDesignThe independent variables in this experiment are the number of words in List A (categorically clustered group) and the number of words in list B (non-categorically clustered group).
The dependent variable is the amount of words participants recall from each list. The same participants carry out both conditions as they memorise words from both list A and list B.An extraneous variable in this experiment may be order effects as participants may get bored or tired of doing the same test twice. Another extraneous variable is the instructions, which will be given to participants, to avoid any discrepancies the instructions will be standardised so each participant will receive the same. (see appendix 1)The experiment involves participants being given a list of words for one minute, from which they are asked to recall as many of the words as they can. They are given a response sheet on which they need to write down in any order as many of the words they can recall within one minute.
The same will be done for a second list of words.The ethical issues that arise in this experiment are gaining consent from participants and giving the right to withdraw themselves from the experiment at any time they wish. This will be controlled by briefing participants before the experiment is conducted consisting of the standardised instructions, and debriefing (see appendix 1).ParticipantsA particular age range of participants will be focussed on, and therefore the target population for this experiment is 16-18 year olds.
A sampling method of opportunity sampling will be used to select the target population. This is because it is a simple way of gaining a number of participants also it is practically efficient given the demands of time. In total ten boys and ten girls will be selected from the sixth form I am currently studying at.MaterialsThe materials which will be used for this experiment are List A containing the related words all mixed up and List B containing the unrelated words (see appendices 2a and 2b).Other materials, which will be used to carry out this experiment are Instructions for the participants such as the brief, standardised instructions and the debrief (see appendix 1).
Pens and response sheets will be used for participants to write down the words they remember. A stopwatch will also be used to time participants. Paper will be given to participants after the task so they can write down their views about the experiment.ProcedureA participant is approached.
The brief is read to the participant (see appendix 1). If the participant agrees to proceed, they will be taken to a quiet room were all the experiment will take place to avoid any other variable effecting the results. The standardised instructions will be read (see appendix 1). List A will then be given to participants and they will be told to start, and timed for one minute, they will then be given one minute to write as many words as they can recall on the response sheet. This procedure will be repeated for List B.
When the participants have finished they will be debriefed. (see appendix 1)A pilot study was carried out before embarking upon the main research. A pilot study is a small-scale preliminary study conducted before the main research in order to check the feasibility or to improve the design of the research. A pilot study was carried out for this experiment on 4 members of the relevant population, but not on those who will form part of the final sample because this might influence the later behaviour of research subjects if they have already been involved in the research. This will allow me to check whether the details given to the participants are easy to understand and that the design of the experiment is suitable.By conducting a pilot study I found that participants felt that the list of words were too long which were originally thirty words per list.
This was changed to twenty words per list for the actual experiment.