GRANT ET AL. (1998) CONTEXT-DEPENDENT MEMORY

Beth Tonks
Mind Map by Beth Tonks, updated more than 1 year ago
Beth Tonks
Created by Beth Tonks almost 4 years ago
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A-Level Psychology (COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY) Mind Map on GRANT ET AL. (1998) CONTEXT-DEPENDENT MEMORY, created by Beth Tonks on 04/03/2016.

Resource summary

GRANT ET AL. (1998) CONTEXT-DEPENDENT MEMORY
1 INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT
1.1 Loftus and Palmer showed that the way witnessed are questioned can affect what they remember, but do we remember information we have learned better in the context (environment) we learned it in?
2 RESEARCH AIMS AND QUESTIONS
2.1 To investigate whether context cues are important when remembering newly learned information. To investigate whether learned information is remembered better in a matching environment than in a non-matching environment.
3 RESEARCH METHOD
3.1 A laboratory experiment having an independent measures design.
3.1.1 Possible to control extraneous variables. Same silent/noisy conditions, same instructions. Timed two minute break to ensure retrieval was from long-term memory. Such controls raise validity and reliability. Some variables could not be standardised so well.
4 SAMPLE
4.1 A group of 39 students from Iowa state university aged 17-56, 17 females and 23 males.
4.1.1 All participants were chosen from acquaintances of experimenters, so unlikely to have formed a representative sample, although there was a good age spread and roughly equal numbers of males and females. Knowledge that their friends (experimenters) were psychology students may have affected their approach to the study by introducing demand characteristics. They may have been more likely to have worked out the aim of the study and tried harder in the matching conditions than if they had ben drawn from a sample who did not necessarily have psychology students for friends.
5 PROCEDURE
5.1 Students were tested one at a time. 8 experimenters and four experimental conditions: silence/silence (matching), silence/noise (non-matching), noise/noise (matching), noise/silence (non-matching). Participants in all conditions worse headphones. Noisy condition - participants heard recording of the noise in their cafeteria consisting of occasional distinct words or phrases amid a general conversational noise mixed with the sound produced by movement of chairs and dishes, played at a moderately loud level. Silent participants heard nothing.
5.1.1 Participants read a 2-page article on psychoimmunology (Hales, 1984), having been told they would be tested on the material, allowed to highlight/underline. The test involved 10 short answer questions and 16 multiple choice questions. The time taken to read the article was recorded in minutes for each participant with a 2 minute break between reading the article and the start of the test. Participants were randomly allocated to each of the four conditions.
6 RESULTS
6.1 As measured by both short-answer questions and multiple-choice questions, in both the noisy and silent conditions, more information was remembered in the matching conditions than in the non-matching recall conditions.
7 CONCLUSIONS
7.1 Context cues appear to be important in the retrieval of newly-learned information, suggesting that students may perform better in exams by studying in silence.
8 DATA
8.1 Quantitative - statistics allow easy comparison of the conditions, clearly showing that the match or mismatch of study and learning conditions affects retrieval. No analysis of essay-style questions means no comparison of qualitative data. Conclusions suggest studying in silence is preferable, but if students feel unable to concentrate, or cannot work for as long without some additional source of stimulation, they may end up learning less. Either source of qualitative data may have added to the completeness of the findings.
9 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
9.1 Participants were aware they were participating. No deception. Debriefed after testing. Given enough information to give informed consent. They were asked if they had any questions and were given the right to withdraw at any point during the study.
10 VALIDITY
10.1 Controls and use of realistic materials - valid. Although the findings suggest silent study is best, implementing such a strategy may be unwise. If the participants had been retrieving information within an existing framework of knowledge, the results might have been different. The silent condition in the experiment (30 minutes) dd have an effect but this may not be generalisable to longer periods of study. The negative effects of boredom, day dreaming or lack of motivation may mitigate the benefit of matched environments, reducing validity. Experiment did represent the study and learning conditions for students reasonably well and the material used was more like course material than other items typically used in memory experiments e.g. word lists
11 RELIABILITY
11.1 Several aspects of the study were standardised - materials, procedure - ensured reliability of the procedure between participants and between conditions, and allowed for replication. Similarity in the pattern of the results across test conditions suggests the results are reliable. However, as 8 different students acted as experimenters, the amount of time given for the initial reading of the article could not be controlled, which may reduce reliability.
12 PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
12.1 Direct applicability to students' study habits, providing a good foundation for at least suggesting to students that they should try studying in silence. There is also evidence for the source monitoring hypothesis and its implications for eyewitness testimony.
12.1.1 Johnson et al. (1993) suggest that, according to source monitoring, recalling the source of a memory matters. If factors such as leading questions distort eyewitnesses' ability to identify the source of their memory, worsening the accuracy of their testimony, context may, conversely, help to improve their accuracy.
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