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This experiment investigates Tulving’s theory of cue dependent forgetting, with a directional hypothesis stating that context of the encoding setting would act as a cue to participants’ accessibility to memory, and allow them to recall more words. This study emulated a previous study done by Abernathy (1940), which used an experimental method to test whether the recall accuracy is higher in the same environment of encoding and retrieval. In this study, the sample size included 8 mixed gender participants, between the age of 18 and 24, with a difference of 7% higher recall rate in the different context as information was learnt, the null hypothesis has been retained, stated that there is no significant relationship between context of the encoding setting and participants’ recall rate. Due to insufficient sample size used, the true relationship between two variables may not be evident.
Introduction Aim The aim of this study is to find out whether being in the same classroom at the encoding and retrieval of words acts as a context cue for memory to help recall words. Directional Hypothesis Participants in the same at both encoding and retrieval will remember significantly more words, from list A than participants who will be asked to recall in a different context. Null Hypothesis: The is no significant relationship between the different environment and the amount of words recalled by participants. Directional Hypothesis is used in this study to test the effectiveness of the context acting as a cue for memory retrieval, presuming higher recall rate in the same environment that supports what previous studies suggest
This experiment was designed to help investigate the Cue-dependent forgetting theory by Tulvin. Cue-dependent forgetting is defined as: information is encoded and available in the brain but not accessible due to lack for retrieval cue. A retrieval cue is a stimulus that can be either external or internal, that allows the brain to access or recall stored information. It can be presented through any of the five senses, taste, see, hear, smell, or touch. It can be any internal state that the brain sense-an emotion, a mental picture, a thought, a sensation, or a physiological state.(Cardwell 2008) For example, a person finds it difficult to retrieve childhood memories until he/she visits his/her old school/house, the environment act as a context cue to help that person remember specific information.
The most effective retrieval cues are said to be stimuli that were present during original learning. They are “packaged” with the target information and the whole package gets stored in long-term memory. Tulvin theorised cue-dependent forgetting into two parts: State dependent forgetting points to the internal physical/physiological state of the person at the time of information being stored and retrieved. They are also internal cues, examples include being tired, alert, nausea, or emotional states such as happy, sad, angry…etc (Cox 2001)
The other part refers to Context dependent forgetting, also the part being tested in this study, which points to the external circumstances or environment setting during the time of information being encoded or retrieved. These are also called external cues, example such as a particular classroom. (Cox 2001) In Abernathy’s research, he concluded that participants were able to recall more words with better accuracy in the same environment of where they learned the words. (Cox 2001)
A subsequent experiment conducted by Godden and Baddeley (1975), where the divers were asked to remember a list of words in two very different settings, on land or 20 feet underwater, followed by a four minutes gap before they were asked to recall the words in those two different settings. The results show that participants’ accuracy of recalling was 50 percent higher when tested in the same setting for recall and learning. These two studies both support the idea that environment act as a useful cue for participants to access their memories. Further more, Klatzky (1980) also proposed that recalling is much better when done in the same condition as where the encoding took place.
He used this finding to explain the remembering of vivid memories when a person revisits childhood places or smells a familiar scent. Smith (1979) also conducted an experiment corresponding to this topic, where students learnt a list of words in a basement, before being asked to recall in either the basement or on the fifth floor. The results show that students performed better recalling in the basement, but performance on the fifth floor was equal when students were instructed to recollect the encoding environment.
Method and design Participants
Opportunity sampling was used as the experiment took place at the college, where opportunity sampling is the quickest and convenient way to get participants, because there is easy access to students. 8 participants; 4 males 4 females between age of 18 and 24. The hypothesis is tested through a field experiment. This method was chosen due to the classroom being a natural setting for participants who are all college students. Previous research was done as a laboratory experiment.
Repeated measures design was used because there was only one group of 8 participants; the same group is tested in two different condition. In List A, students were asked to recall at the same place where they memorise the words. List B is where the students recalled in a different location from where they were given the list of words. Materials include: Informed consent (app 5), Debrief (app 3), Standardised instruction(app 1) Word List A A3 size, Word List B A3 size sheet, (look at word list app 2), Results data (app 4), 1 researcher, 1 watcher.