They showed participants lists of words from various categories. They found that in free recall, participants who were given paper with category names as headings recalled more words than those who were given just a blank sheet of paper. However when the latter were also given category headings their recall improved. This shows how cues can guide us to information in our memory we were otherwise unable to access. Rationale This experiment was undertaken to discover whether chunking leads to better recall. Miller suggests that chunking leads to improved recall.
This could be tested by using related and unrelated words lists. The related words could be on any subject like clothes but all the words must all be related. The words in the unrelated list could be anything but must be the same in some respects e. g only one syllable. In the related list participants should recall late words best, early words should be recalled next best and middle words should be recalled least well. However when using the related words list where chunking should hopefully take place, more words should be recalled from the middle of the list than in the unrelated list.
This is because words are put into groups or chunks, so their position in the words list does not affect the chance of being recalled as much as in the unrelated list. Another factor which could affect the serial position curve is cue-dependent remembering. This could only have an affect in the related words list as one word could cue another word to be recalled. Aims The broad aim of this study is to discover whether the human mind is capable of storing more information if the brain is able to chunk then when the brain is unable to chunk.
The aim of the experiment is to discover whether participants will recall words better from a related word list than from an unrelated word list. To carry out the experiment the word lists will be either related (in this case the category will be cloths) or unrelated (completely random words). To measure the experiment the number of words recalled will be recorded. Hypotheses Experimental hypothesis: There will be a significantly greater recall of words from the related list than those from the unrelated list.
Null Hypothesis: There will be no significant difference in the number of words recalled from the related and unrelated lists; any difference will be due to chance. Methodology Method The method chosen for the investigation was a laboratory experiment. This method was chosen for many reasons: The laboratory experiment provides the psychologist with the highest possible level of control. The situation can be created and other methods such as field experiments do not have such high levels of control. As well as this laboratory experiments produce results which are numerical, so results are easy to analyze.
Another reason for choosing the laboratory method is that none of the other methods could be used to acquire the information needed, as questionnaires, case studies and interviews could not reveal such data. Design Independent measures design was used to eliminate order affects. Repeated measures design could cause order affects such as boredom this would decrease frequency of recall due to lack of motivation.. More importantly participants could get better because of the practice effect, which would increase frequency of recall.
Matched pairs would be a good technique but it is far to time consuming for this experiment as a profile of each person has to be made. Order affects could mean that the experimenter could not be sure whether the change in recall was due to chunking or the order affects. Variables The independent variable in the experiment was the related or unrelated word lists. One list of words was related in this case all clothes, and the other word list contained completely unrelated, words with no connection. The dependent variable in the experiment was the number of words remembered by a participant.
Sampling Opportunity sampling was used in this study for convenience other samples were not used. Random sampling could involve traveling and is difficult to organise, so this was not an appropriate method. Systemic sampling and quota were other options, but opportunity was more convenient as it much faster and there were time constraints. Participants Because opportunity sampling was used, most of the participants were friends and family members. This meant participants were of both sexes and there was a higher percentage of 16 to 18 year olds because much of the sample was taken at school.
The age range was from 12 years old to 52 years old, which is a range of 40 years. There were a slightly higher percentage of males, this was purely due to chance. Apparatus A computer was used to print of the words onto cards, this ensured the font was the same on each card and they could all be in higher case. Scissors were used to cut the cards so that they were all the exact shape and size. Thick card was used instead of paper so that the cards would be hard wearing and re usable. Pen and paper were also necessary for the participants.
It was decided that this apparatus should be used because it filled all of the necessary criteria, such as complete homogeneity for easy replication. Procedure To carry out the experiment the experimenter approaches a potential participant and asked whether they would like to take part in an experiment. If the participant agreed the experimenter would lead them to a table and ask them to be seated. The experimenter would then slowly show the participant the list of related or unrelated words, making sure that the participant had 5 seconds to read each word properly.
Once the experimenter had shown the participant the whole list, they would place the card out of view, wait for half a minute before asking the participant to write down as many words as they can remember on a sheet of paper. After the experiment is over the participant is debriefed and told the actual aim of the experiment. Controls To ensure the unrelated word list was completely unrelated it was repeatedly revise and modified to create a standardized word list. There were also standardized procedures.
Each participant was shown the cards in the same order and at the same speed to make sure the experiment was the same each time. Standardized instructions were also given to each experimenter. Participants are not told what the experiment is actually about, at the beginning they are simply asked if they would like to take part in an experiment. This could be seen as unethical as the participants are not told the true aim, however participants are not harmed emotionally, physically or otherwise as a result of the experiment. Participants were also debriefed.