Mental imagery

There is a great advantage to the repeated measures design, as the individual differences are removed so there s re no longer any confounding variables, also a fewer number of participants a re needed as the data can be collected from the same participants. The biggest disadvantage of this design is that there may be order effects, after going through condition the participants may become bored or tired while going through the seconed condition. However order effects can be rduced through counter balancing and randomizing. I will be using the technique of counterbalancing, this is when the participants take the tasks in different orders.

Each participant was asked to learn these words, however the participants were asked to learn some words using imagery, and other words using rote rehearsal. The particpant was then asked to turn the list over and wait for a couple of minutes. This was like a distracter task. Then the participants were asked to write as many words from their list as they could with no regard to the order, spelling or time. (See appendix). Each group consisted of ten males, and ten female and all participants were aged between 16-18 as that is the age range of the pupils in my 6th form.

The independent variable in this experiment was one group’s use of mental imagery, and the control group using rote rehearsal. The dependant variable was the number of words recalled from the memory test. Extraneous variables can affect the findings of my research. To control these the room was quiet, and participants were in separate rooms, as different levels of noise would have distracted the participant and some would have been more prone to distraction than others. The room was also lit well so that the participants would have no problem with reading any of the information given to them.

Had this been otherwise, this would have led to incorrect preception of the words and this would have led to apparent memory mistakes, as the word would have been mistaken for some other word. Standardised instructions (see appendix) and a casual seating arrangement were used to minimise the ‘experimenter effect’. As the experimenter expectations could have influenced the results through body language or though slight modifications to the instructions. All the word cards were written in the same font, times new roman, size 14, on Microsoft Word.

As this may affect the participants understanding of the words and therefore, their ability to learn the words pairs correctly. This experiment was an Independent measures design, which was useful because the same material could be used for experimental and controlled conditions. It also made sure that there was no possibility of participant guessing the hypothesis and so avoids some of the possible demand characteristics. Participants Participants aged between 16-18 were chosen because they were the only participants available to me for the experiment.

Also none of the younger children from school we used as children have to have parental consent for ethical reasons, also children may have different learning styles to those of adults or the material might be too difficult for some of them. This would have added to the effect of the extraneous variable. Participants were chosen by means of an Opportunity Sample largely because it was convenient and also because the experiment was to be done on a small scale. The participants were all chosen from the North West of England and a range of occupational groups were included equal number of males and females were selected.

This counter balanced any effect of gender. Ethics Children were not used in the experiment as the issue of ethics would have been raised because they could not give their own consent for participation. Confidentiality was a major issue, as that was an important factor to our participants, to overcome this we did not take the names of any of our participants. Another issue was the consent of the participants to take part in the experiment, so each participant gave informed consent. All participants had the right to leave during the experiment and the right to withdraw their results at anytime during the research.

Apparatus and Materials 20 copies of the answe sheet (See appendix) word pairs on paper for the experimentor and for the participant standard instruction (appendix) Pencils/pens (more than 1 each so no time is wasted if a pen runs out or pencil breaks) Procedure Data was obtained by approaching possible participants, and I asking them if they would take part in a psychology experiment. The same standard instructions were given and explained to each participant. I then asked them to help us with our psychology coursework, (see appendix) and explained that the experiment was to investigate recall using memory and rehearsal.

The participants were told that they would be asked to learn twenty word pairs and that they would later be asked to recall them using different memorization techniques. It was stressed that the experiment was to prove/disprove a psychological theory and not a test of THEIR memory. They participants were informed that their name would not be written down in the coursework anymore, all information was to remain confidential and that the experiment would not take longer than 15-20 minutes.

A coin was tossed to see which words the participant would be asked to memorise using imagery and which using rote rehearsal. The task instructions (see Instructions 2) told the participants what to do. They were told that they were to learn the words in front of them for two minutes using the appropriate memorisation technique. The participants were to use mental imagery words by imagining the two word-pairs interacting together. The words that the participants were to memorise using rehersal were asked to rehearse the words again and again.

It was made sure that they understood the instructions before allowing them to learn the words so that the words were not memorized using the wrong technique. After two minutes of learning the word pairs, the participants were instructed to turn over the word pairs and perform a distracter task. The distracter task was just making the participants think about something else and was stopping them from looking at the word pairs. After this the participants were finally asked to recall as many of the word pairs as they could remember.

They were then asked to write down their answers on the answer sheet so that they could be used to see and discuss the findings. Afterwards, all participants were debriefed. They were told that the experiment was trying to discover whether people remember more when information is aided by mental imagery or when using the rote rehearsal method. Any questions they had were answered and comments were noted. They were allowed to see the final results if they wished to do so, but ofcourse names of participants would not be mentioned-just the overall findings would be displayed.

The standardised instructions helped to control the variables that may have biased the experiment. Distractions were avoided by conducting the experiment in a quiet room. All the participants were given the same amounts of time for the learning and distracter tasks, and also the same amount of time for each word pair wheather using imagery or rote rehersal as the memorisation technique. Table to show the scores obtained by participants, aided by mental imagery or without, and the recalling of word pairs Mental Imagery Group

Memory has been the focus of psychology research since the beginning of psychology. Investigators have focused on the structure of memory and factors that aid or inhibit the ability to store and retrieve information. Bower’s research (1972) found that that …

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