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Role of Memory in Cognitive Processes

Memory is an important area of study in Psychology because it underpins our other cognitive processes. Memory has been defined as “the retention of learning or experience. ” (Gross 1987) There are three basic memory processes, often proposed as a sequence of ‘stages’. The Encoding Process ? Storage Process ? Retrieval Process (Recall) Encoding refers to the process involved in the learning of any information. This is then stored and recalled, which involves summoning up the stored information in the memory and bringing it into consciousness.

Human memory is fallible, unlike computers, we do not have 100% recall. Recall is the result of encoding. To retrieve information stored in the memory, the same information that was available at encoding should be available at retrieval. Tulving and Pearlstone (1966) looked at memory and recall. In their study they gave subjects a list of words in categories with the category names at the top of each grouping. They then split the subjects into two groups. Both groups were tested on their memory recall of the list of words but the first group received the category names and second didn’t.

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They found that the subjects that received the category names during the test recalled more of the words than the subjects that didn’t receive the category names during recall. This piece of research will be the basis for the following study. I will carry out an experiment to investigate memory recall due to category headings. There will be two conditions. After I have read out a list of words the first condition will recall the words onto a blank sheet of paper while the second condition will recall the words onto a sheet of paper with category headings printed on it relating to the list of words read out.

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Both of the conditions will be treated the same to exclude any extraneous variables. Hypothesis Experimental Hypothesis: A greater number of words will be recalled by subjects using category headings than by subjects that are not using category headings (one-tailed) Null Hypothesis: There will be no significant difference in the number of words recalled between the two conditions. Any difference will be due to chance. Methodology Design The research undertaken was investigated using the experimental method.

The independent variable was the category headings related to the list of words read out. The dependent variable was the number of words recalled by each condition. There were two conditions in the experiment, a condition that received category headings when recalling the list of words and a condition that didn’t. Both conditions consisted of students in Year 11 at Appleby Grammar School. An independent samples design was used. Both conditions were presented with the list of words and recalled them at the same time. Participants

Twenty participants (10 girls and 10 boys) were selected by using a random numbers table. The students from Year 11, English classes at Appleby Grammar School, ages between 16 and 17 years old, (mean age 16 years 5 months) were all numbered. A random numbers table was then created, numbers were selected and the students’ names were written down. The first 5 girls selected were put in condition one and the second 5 in condition two, this method was also carried out with the boys, therefore there were 5 girls and 5 boys in each condition.

None of the participants were following a course in psychology and they were not made aware of the hypothesis under investigation at the start of the experiment. Procedure For the experiment both conditions were in the same room. Condition A, the subjects recalling the list of words onto sheets of paper with category headings were sat at one side of the room and Condition B, the subjects recalling the list of words onto a blank sheet of paper were sat the other side. It was made certain that each subject couldn’t see anyone else’s answers.

Before the experiment began it was explained to the subjects what was going to happen.  Once the subjects were clear with what was happening the list of words was read out that they later had to recall. Sheets of paper with category headings related to the list of words were then distributed to subjects in Condition A and blank sheets of paper were given to subjects in Condition B.

The sheets were placed face down in front of the subject along with a pen. Once each subject had a pen and a piece of paper they were then allowed to recall the list of words for 1minute 30seconds, this was timed. After the allocated time the subjects were asked to stop writing and the results from each condition was collected in. The subjects were debriefed before they left the experiment. (See Appendix D for the precise wording of the debriefing)

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Role of Memory in Cognitive Processes. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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