An investigation will be conducted to see how different types of interference affect recall and which types of interference have the bigger effect. In 1959, Peterson and Peterson set up an experiment to prove that information not being rehearsed would be lost from short term memory. In the experiment, Peterson and Peterson used what is known as the Brown-Peterson technique. On each trial, participants were presented with a trigram consisting of three consonants, which they knew they would be asked to recall in the correct order.
The participants counted backwards in threes from a random 3-digit number between the initial presentation of the trigram and the time when they were asked to recall it. This was done to prevent rehearsal of the trigram, because rehearsal would have improved performance by keeping information in short term memory. They found that there was a rapid increase in forgetting from short term memory as the time delay increased. After 3 seconds 80% of the trigrams were recalled, after 6 seconds 50% were recalled, and after 18 seconds fewer than 10% of the trigrams were recalled.
The findings from this study suggest strongly that information held in short term memory is lost rapidly when there is little or no opportunity to rehearse it; therefore, information in short term memory is fragile and easily forgotten when being interfered with. Rationale: The study suggests that information is lost easily from the short term memory if it is not being rehearsed and that rehearsal of the information would lead to it being stored in the more stable long term memory. The problem with the above study is that the interference was a list of trigrams which lacks ecological validity.
I will be replicating the above study to a certain extent but aim to include interference that can commonly be found in everyday life. My investigation will involve listening to music or playing a video game as the interference methods that can be applied to real life situations in order to see if the theory of interference has a more practical application. Aim: To see which of the two interference methods, playing video games or listening to music, has more of an effect on recall. Hypothesis:
Experimental: playing a video game will interfere with recall more than listening to music will. Null: there will be no significant difference in recall after playing video games or listening to music. Research method: I will be carrying out a laboratory experiment to test my hypothesis; the reasons for this are that it gives me a large degree of control over a number of situational variables and it allows me to collect the quantitative data I need through the completion of set tasks by the participants. Design method:
I will be using an independent groups design; I have chosen this so each participant experiences one experimental setting only so the order effect does not affect participants who are then less likely to respond to demand characteristics and avoid order effects. Since the experiment is being conducted in order to measure the amount of interference on recall the following variables were operationalised in order to allow for the collection of quantitative data. Independent variable: whether the participants will be listening to music or playing a video game or doing nothing.
Dependent variable: the number of words the participant can remember after the allotted time (see procedure). Sample: I will be using opportunity sampling in order to select my participants which has a number of advantages, the first is that it eliminates bias from the sample and those within the sampling frame all have an equal chance of selection. It is also ethical as I do not need to access any personal information which is illegal under the 1984 Data Protection Act, the participants will simply be selected from a pre reception for a wedding anniversary which provides plenty of possible participants.
This also allows for the experiment to take place at the desired time as I do not have to wait for individuals to find some free time. Participants will be within the fifteen – eighteen years of age bracket so the results can be used to make generalisations about young adults as opposed to comparing results of a young child and a fully grown adult. All participants will be asked for their consent in order to carry out the experiment and will be debriefed at the end of the experiment which will thank them for their participation.
During the course of the experiment, the participants will be given the right to withdraw at any time if they wish to in order to make sure that the experiment maintains an ethical stance and does not involve any stress to the participants. Apparatus: Ipod nano – this will be the music source and will be listened to by the group who will listen to music after having rehearsed the set of words. Docking station – the ipod will be plugged into this so the music will be played through loud speakers so all members of the music group can hear the music at the same time.
Playstation 2 – this is the games console and will be used by the video games group after they have rehearsed the set of words. Controllers – this goes along with the playstation 2 and participants will use this to play the game Shaolin – this is the game that will be played by the games group, it requires concentration and timing so this is why it was chosen. Television set – this will simply be used to connect the playstation 2 so participants can see what is happening. Stopwatch – this will be used to time the period the groups rehearse the set of words and the amount of time they listen to music or play video games.
Results table and pen – this will be used to record the data collected during the experiment so it is not lost or forgotten afterwards. Many factors in the experiment were controlled in order to get unhindered results. Participants were given the same set of words to remember in order to avoid people getting ‘easier to remember’ words than others. The participants all looked at the words for one minute and then had two minutes to perform the pre set task depending on their group.
Participants also were kept separate when in their groups to prevent one group from telling the other groups, who had not participated in the experiment yet, about the words that were on the list. Outside noise was also kept to a minimum to minimise distraction to the participants. However there were some factors that could not be controlled such as whether the participant liked the music being played as participants who didn’t would be more likely to pay less attention than other, this would apply to the video game group as well. Individual differences couldn’t be controlled as some people may be better at remembering things than others.