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Descriptive Statistics Commentary Essay

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In Condition A, participants were told to look at a list of words whilst listening to music, they were then asked to match the pairs with the music turned off. In Condition B the music was kept on whilst participants were matching the pairs. The mean average for Condition A is 4.8 pairs whilst the mean average for Condition B is 4.15 pairs. The median average for Condition A is 4.5 pairs compared to Condition B that is 3 pairs. The modal average for Condition A is 4 pairs, whilst the modal average for Condition B is 2.

Additional Graphical Description of Results Descriptive Statistics Commentary The highest amount of words learnt in my line graph was 11 and the lowest was 0. The graph shows that people who got low recall in Condition A, also got low recall in Condition B. Only one participant got all eleven pairs matched correctly on both conditions. Almost none of the participants got any incorrect and this is shown on the graph. There is one piece of extreme data on my line graph, where the participant matched all the pairs correctly in each condition.

There is also a lot of overlap between the two conditions and this shows that the outcome for each condition was very similar. The difference in each condition is difficult to explain. Relationship of Results to Hypothesis My results show that people did not learn more words with music on, in fact they learned less. Only one participant matched all eleven pairs in both conditions. The overall result shows that the music didn’t act as a cue as it did not aid learning or recall. The results do not relate to my hypothesis, as I did not prove that music aids learning. Therefore I must accept my null hypothesis.

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The averages for both conditions were 4.8 for Condition A and 4.15 for Condition B, this is very close and there is not a significant difference. Discussion Validity In this experiment I manipulated whether or not music was played to the participants. A problem with the experiment is that it lacks in ecological validity. In real life people do not pair words, memory does not work in the same way as an experiment, we do not think in lists. This experiment is trying to look at something that is not true to life.

Suggestions for improved validity Ways of improving validity could be to do a field experiment, do longitudinal studies or to keep a diary case. Participants could learn in a classroom what they have to learn and then sit the exams in the same classroom. This may help them to remember. A case study would provide insight however you cannot generalize. A field experiment is good as you can also get rid of demand characteristics but you cannot control extraneous variables and you cannot generalise.

Reliability Experiments are generally reliable because it produces quantitative data and it can be replicated. You can generalise and you can also control extraneous variables. When the experiment took place participants, copied off each other, they shouted the answers out and there was generally a lot of noise in the room. There were also more girls than boys. Participants didn’t want to ask questions about the task, so it is possible that they may not have fully understood what to do, they are responding to demand characteristics.

Opportunity sampling is also very limited and I was only allowed to experiment on English classrooms. Improving Reliability Having a special room to do the experiment in would help improve reliability. Also maybe getting the participants to take us more seriously would help. Maybe not giving the participants as long to look at the words would also improve reliability or having a person in authority be present. Implications My background information like Tulving and Godden and Baddeley suggest that cues help recall. I used music as a cue in my experiment and that did not appear to help recall. The difference in the two conditions was very narrow. This may indicate that the experiment was wrong in some way.

Generalisation of Findings The experiment was done on 20 17-19 year olds who are studying AS or A2 levels. You cannot generalise to the rest of the population as students are trained to remember as they have been in education since the age of 5. You could therefore only generalise on 17-19 year olds in full time education. It did not tell us about age or gender. A sample of 20 is far too small to generalise from, as 20 people cannot account for everyone in the rest of the population. Application to everyday life In many situations cues can be very helpful. Students use cues to help them to revise for exams and the examiner can use a stimulus to help the student to remember in exams. E.g. after revising for psychology, students could use Tulving’s ideas to create categories of information to make the work more manageable and easier to remember.

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