Chunking is one technique used in mnemonics, to help us to improve our memories. Another technique is imagery, which involves making images in your head which links the words or ideas that you would like to remember. This imagery technique was created by Raugh and Atkinson, who thought that it might help people learn vocabulary in foreign language. They found that twice as many words were remembered by the participants that used this technique.
Bower found that organisation could improve recall, when words are organised into semantic groups, where words were put into groups of similar meaning, topic or category. Bower’s experiments showed that organisation improved memory and recall. The aim of our experiment is to prove that this theory is still true and to backup Bower’s study with one of my own.
Hypothesis and Research Aims
In many psychological studies there is an Independent Variable and a Dependent Variable. The Independent Variable is the thing that changes and affects the Dependent Variable, and the Dependent Variable is the result. In our study, we have identified the layout of the words as the Independent Variable and the number of words remembered as the Dependent Variable. The layout could be either a list of mixed up words or five boxes containing semantically linked groups of words.
We believe that more words will be remembered by the participants memorising the words that have been organised. However, we are not sure as to the extent at which the memory and recall of these participants will exceed those who are given the list of mixed up words.
Design – This investigation will have two different sheets, with the same list of words, except that they will have different layouts. One page will contain a straight list of mixed up words, and the other will contain the same words, but in semantic groups.
Participants – We shall find random people on the third floor of the Colchester Sixth Form College, in the social areas to participate in our study, and we will not take gender into consideration. However, we also do not need to ask the participants their age or occupation because they will all be students of the ages of sixteen and seventeen.
Materials – We will not use any particular equipment or materials. All we shall use is a pen and paper, and then we will ask the participants to write down the words that they can remember.
Procedure – We will test the memories of the participants in mass and give them the words to memorise for thirty seconds and pass around after that time. They may then have as long as they would like to complete writing the list of words that they can remember. The tests will be performed after lunch because it is the time when most people have a lot of free time.
Ethics – When we approached the participants, we gave them all the same speech about what we would like them to do and we kept the results secret to prevent stress resulting from bad performance or social embarrassment.