The broad research question that is being asked in this experiment is, “How accurately and completely do people recognize common objects?” The specific research question that is being asked in Experiment I is, “How accurately can the subject reproduce a penny without aided recall?” The specific research question that is being asked in Experiment II is, “How accurately can the subject locate the features on the penny when given a list of the eight features of interest?” The specific research question that is being asked in Experiment III is, “How accurately can the subject decide whether the given feature is on the penny and how much confidence do they have in their answer?” The specific research question being asked in Experiment IV is, “How accurately can the subject decide whether the picture shown is a correct reproduction of a penny and if not, say what is wrong?” The specific research question being asked in Experiment V is, “How accurately can the subject pick out the correct reproduction of a penny out of fifteen images?” Alternatives
One of the alternatives that are being considered is that people cannot recognize or recall some of the specific details of a penny from memory because of meaningfulness and interference. Some of the factors of a penny have no significance to the subjects, hence the lack of recall when trying to remember them. Interference also prevents people from recalling certain details of the penny because they might be getting confused with older models of the penny or other coins all together. The other alternative that is being considered is that people can recall or recognize some details of the penny because of meaningfulness and cue redundancy. Certain factors, such as the date and Lincoln’s head, are important in distinguishing that it is a penny. Cue redundancy also helps people distinguish between images they have and have not seen before. Logic
The logic of the experiments is explained through the results of the alternatives. If alternative 1 is correct, then no matter if the subject is given two blank circles or a sheet with fifteen pictures and they only have to identify the correct one, the subject will still not be able to reproduce the penny completely and accurately. However, if alternative 2 is correct, then the subjects will be able to recall more details of the penny when given more materials to further enhance their memory. Methods
The participants in the experiment were twenty different adult U.S. citizens for Experiments I, II, and III. The participants in Experiment IV were 127 U.S. citizens in a Psychology I lecture at Brown University. The participants in Experiment V were 36 female U.S. citizens from Lesley College. The materials used in the experiments were two empty circles, lists of features on and not on the penny, one correct or wrong drawing of the penny and fifteen different drawings of the penny. The procedure used was to have people recall the image of a penny, correctly place the features on the penny, decide from a list what was on or not on the penny, point out the wrong features on a given image of a penny, and choose the correct image from fifteen different images of the penny. The independent variable in this experiment was the amount of materials the subject was given in order to determine the image of a penny. The dependent variable in this experiment was how accurately the subjects could distinguish the correct image of a penny. Results
The results of the experiment show that people have a difficult time recalling the image of a penny. It shows that people have an inaccurate and incomplete image of the penny in their memories. No matter the different methods used to produce a more detailed image of the penny, the subjects still had an incomplete image. For example, the probability in Experiment I that the subject would mislocate a feature of the penny was .42 , whereas, it was .68 in Experiment II. These are similar numbers, showing that the results do not vary much when the procedure differs. Inferences
The inference that can be drawn supports the alternative that people cannot recognize or recall some of the specific details of a penny from memory because of meaningfulness and interference. The results prove this theory, shown through the low numbers of subjects being able to accurately reproduce a visual image of the penny from memory. This answers the research question
that people cannot recognize common objects accurately and completely.