From the summary table it shows that the test including the scores had a lower mean score than the test without the scores. The totals also show the same in which only 229 answers were correct in the test for the ‘with scores’ condition, compared to the test without scores which was 266 correct answers. In each condition, the range was quite high, as the highest result a participant could get was 20. This shows a wide range of correct recall of state capitals the participants achieved.
Also, both conditions had a very similar range, showing the wide range of correct answers was present in both conditions whether the scores were included or not. Additional graphical description of results See attached graphs (A1, A2, A3 and A4) Descriptive Statistics Commentary Graph 1: shows the mean results and compares them with both of the tests that were done. It shows that the group that did the test without the scores scored higher in their tests compared with the group that did the test with the scores. However, it is only slightly higher.
Graph 2 (1st distribution graph): shows how people scored in the test that did not include separate scores (D1). It shows that there are more people who scored in the 6-8-category group. Graph 3 (2nd distribution graph): shows distributions of scores in the test that include separate scores (D4). Although there are a number of people who scored in the 6-8 group, there were also a lot of people who scored in the 3-5 ranges. This is possibly why the mean in the ‘scores’ condition was lower than the ‘no scores’ condition. Both graphs are close to normal distribution, as they both produced a ‘bell-like’ shape.
Relationship of results to hypothesis The alternate hypothesis predicts that the group with scores on their test recall fewer American state capitals than the group without scores. The results show that the group that did the test with no scores scored higher compared with the group that did have scores. The results show a large difference so we will accept the alternate hypothesis, although there is a question as to how significant is the actual difference. But because it is quite large, we assume it is significant; we will reject the null hypothesis. On graph 2: it shows that most people scored at a consistent level, fairly reasonable.
The results seem to agree with the alternate hypothesis is when the average is taken for each condition. Individually, its not as convincing. But with the participants who did have scores on their papers, there was a fair amount of people in the 3-5 group, supporting the alternate hypothesis and making it a bit more convincing. In the scores category, only 4 people managed to recall 12 or more correct state capitals, whereas with the no scores category, 7 people managed to get 12 or more correct answers. This shows that the participants who had no scores on their tests recalled more state capitals, supporting the hypothesis further.
However, the null hypothesis says there will be no significant difference between both groups. Any difference that does occur is due to chance factors. Since there isn’t a big difference between the results (means of both conditions) we cannot be sure whether this difference is due to failure feedback or a chance factor (confounding variable for example). Therefore I have decided to reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis. DISSCUSSION Validity The experiment was to test if motivated forgetting occurs due to failure feedback.
To produce motivated forgetting, there has to be high levels of anxiety, so there is repression of information. In the experiment that was carried out, only a small amount of anxiety was produced because the information they had to remember was not important to them. Therefore the anxiety produced is small compared to people who have experienced traumatic events during their lives such as child abuse. Because of this, the anxiety produced may not be enough to cause motivated forgetting. Also, the information that was used does not have a high ecological validity.
This is because it doesn’t represent motivated forgetting in the real world. In the real world, it is episodic events (personal events) that we appointed with motivated forgetting. In research we have used semantic (knowledge based) memories so our study doesn’t reflect how motivated forgetting occurs in real life. The low results in the ‘scores’ condition may not be due to motivated forgetting at all. The score at the top of the sheet may affect the participant’s concentration rather than anxiety affecting ability of recall, as they could be distracted by the result rather than trying to repress the information.
This is supported by Holmes’ study (1972). He suggests that forgetting in failure feedback situations may not be due repression but simply due to the inability of concentration from the participant. Holmes also found that exactly the same effects could be achieved with feedback that was positive, rather than negative. This clearly suggests that distraction is affecting recall rather than anxiety producing repression, therefore not supporting D’Zurilla’s study of failure feedback.
The scores could possibly be fictitious – if the participant may suspect something, such as the low score they got from the first response sheet, the results could be changed, which could lead to inaccurate results. Suggestions for Improved Validity We can try to increase the level of anxiety because the test was not intense enough. We could make the test more important or worthwhile. The participant could win prize money if they got a certain amount of state capitals correct. So if they don’t get enough correct they cannot claim the prize.
This will make the test more serious so they will try to remember the information. When the participant sees the score on their 2nd test sheet, knowing they don’t have enough to win, this will produce anxiety and lead to motivated forgetting. The level of anxiety could be increased further by extreme measures; for example, you could tell them that their close friend/relative has been rushed to hospital with a serious illness. This would definitely produce more anxiety that could possibly lead to motivated forgetting. However, when creating high levels of anxiety, its not considered as being ethical.
Therefore even if you could produce high levels of anxiety, it wouldn’t be carried out. To overcome this problem, the nature of this study could be changed. A case study could be carried out so natural occurring traumatic events could be observed in more detail. The information that the participants have to learn is testing their semantic knowledge which isn’t ecologically valid so we will have to produce information that is episodic such as learning well known events from history or about events from the current world news. Although focusing on episodic memories will produce more valid results, it is more time consuming.