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An experimental investigation of the serial position effect: Does the use of a                       highlighted font alte...
Table of ContentIntroduction………………………………………………………………………………..         1 Method       Design…………………………………………………………………...…………...
Abstract        This experiment was aimed to investigate the effect of a highlighted font on recall ofwords. The type of e...
Introduction         The explanation of memory elicited many debates among psychologists. According to theserial position ...
MethodsDesign       The method of experimentation was chosen because it provides a controlled investigation,allowing the e...
MaterialsPencilParent Consent Form (Appendix A)Notification Letter (Appendix A)Briefing Notes (Appendix B)Debriefing Notes...
Results        The raw data (Appendix 4) shows the number of participants who recalled the wordscorrectly. The mode of the...
Graph 2: The percentage of correct retrieval depending on the position of words in the                                    ...
Discussion        The result of this investigation supported the cause-and-effect relationship betweenhighlighted font and...
Works Cited“Experiment Description: Free Recall and the Serial Position Effect.” Athabasca University. 27       June 2005....
AppendicesAppendix ADear _____________,You have been chosen to participate in an IB psychology experiment. The IB Psycholo...
Appendix BHi All!Thank you for coming,Today you will be participating in an IB (International Baccalaureate) Psychology IA...
Appendix C               Ball             Library              Enter              Grade             Internet              ...
Appendix D                            Controlled Group   Experimental Group                   Ball           10           ...
Appendix E             (Tavris and Carole)                    12
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Psychology IA

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  • Just to let you know - in your Appendix B - you have written 'Please DO cheat' - other than that v, helpful, thank you!
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  • Excellent IA! One question: in IB Psychology SL, do you have to replicate the experiment or can you manipulate the variables?

    What did you get on this IA?
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  • I just have a few questions:
    1. What did you get in your IA?
    2. Was their any parts of your essay you think is a good/bad examples of a template I should use?
    3. I noticed you used mostly past tense. Is there times when I should use a different tense?
    4. Is it OK if I integrate conclusion to be with the discussion section or should it be by itself?

    Thanks
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Psychology IA

  1. 1. An experimental investigation of the serial position effect: Does the use of a highlighted font alter the recall of words?IB Psychology SL Internal AssessmentExperimentFuyuki WatanabeCandidate Number 0003166January 21st, 2010Word Count: 1494Completed in partial fulfillment of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program
  2. 2. Table of ContentIntroduction……………………………………………………………………………….. 1 Method Design…………………………………………………………………...………… 2 Participants………………………………………………………………………... 2 Materials…………………………………………………………………………... 3 Procedure…………………………………………………………………………. 3Results…………………………………………………………………………………….. 4-5Discussion……………………………………………………………………………….... 6 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………… 6References………………………………………………………………………………… 7Appendices Appendix A……………………………………………………………………….. 8 Appendix B…………………………………………………………….. ………… 9 Appendix C……………………………………………………………………….. 10 Appendix D……………………………………………………………………….. 11 Appendix E……………………………………………………………………….. 12
  3. 3. Abstract This experiment was aimed to investigate the effect of a highlighted font on recall ofwords. The type of experimental design was independent measures. The independent variablewas the way the words were presented on a list. The dependent variable was the number ofcorrectly recalled words. Every participant, whose age ranged from fourteen to fifteen, wastested in the similar type of rooms at the same time of the day. The sample type wasopportunistic due to the time constraints. The experimental group received a list withhighlighted words in the middle. The controlled group received a list without any manipulatedvariables. The participants were given two minutes to memorize as many words as possible andfive minutes to recall the words. According to the serial position effect, the participants wereexpected to recall the earlier and latter words on the list more accurately than those in the middle.To alter this expected phenomenon, the researchers manipulated the middle words through theuse of a highlighted font. The result suggested that the researchers succeeded in disrupting theserial position effect and that the highlighted font has an impact on recall.
  4. 4. Introduction The explanation of memory elicited many debates among psychologists. According to theserial position effect, which is related to the cognitive perspective, people recall the earlier andlatter information on a list better than those in the middle because the earlier items are stored inthe long-term memory (the primacy effect), while the latter items are stored in the short-termmemory (the recency effect) (Tavris and Wade 319-320). One of the past inquiries relevant tothis topic is Glanzer and Cunitz’s study in 1966 (Tavris and Wade 327-328). The aim of thisoriginal study was to examine the effect of a word’s position in a list on recall. To assess this aim,they manipulated the spacing among the words and the time between encoding and recall. Thecontrolled group was tested on immediate recall, while the experimental group was asked torecall after 30 seconds (“Experiment…”). The result suggested that manipulated spacing andtime disrupted the primacy effect and the recency effect respectively. The aim of this replicated experiment is to investigate the effect of a highlighted font onrecall. Since many find themselves highlighting key concepts and ideas in reading assignments,it may help to assess the effectiveness of highlighting to enhance the organizational methods insuch assignments. Drawing from the past research, the primacy and recency effect are likely tobe disrupted by placing emphasis on the middle words of the list through the use of highlightedfont. 1
  5. 5. MethodsDesign The method of experimentation was chosen because it provides a controlled investigation,allowing the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable to be examined moreprecisely. The independent variable was the way the words were presented and was manipulatedthrough the use of highlighted font. The dependent variable was the number of correctly recalledwords and was measured by counting. An independent measures experimental design wasemployed rather than repeated measures due to the order effect. Since it was a memory test, theparticipants would learn what to remember in the first trail and affect the second trial if otherwise.The controlled group received a list without any manipulated variable, and the experimentalgroup received a list of words in which the middle seven words were highlighted. The type ofdata collected was nominal. Other variables that could have affected the results were the time ofthe day, age, and academic abilities of the participants. The researchers attempted to controlthese variables by selecting a group of students in the same grade and English class, andconducting the experiment at the same time of the day for every participant. All IB and APethical guidelines were observed and followed in the briefing notes (Appendix B), debriefingnotes (Appendix B), and parent consent forms (Appendix A).Participants All participants were selected from the ninth grade of International School of Bangkok. Atotal of 22 participants, who brought back the consent forms - twelve from Mr. K’s English 9class, four from Ms. G’s Math 1A class, and six from after school - participated. All participants’age ranged from fourteen to fifteen and took the same English 9 course. Opportunity samplingtechnique was used due to the time constraints of both the researchers and the participants. Theresearchers allocated 8 females and 3 males in both the experimental and controlled group. 2
  6. 6. MaterialsPencilParent Consent Form (Appendix A)Notification Letter (Appendix A)Briefing Notes (Appendix B)Debriefing Notes (Appendix B)Word List (Appendix C)Sheets of Blank PaperStopwatchProcedure A number of tables and chairs were set up in a manner that participants could not lookover other’s paper. The parent consent forms (Appendix A) were collected when the participantsentered the room. Although the experiment took place on three different dates, all participantswere tested at the same time of the day, 2:15pm. The researchers asked the participants to sit on aspecific side of the room depending on whether he or she belonged to the controlled orexperimental group. One of the researchers read the briefing notes (Appendix B) to ensure thatall IB and AP ethical guidelines were observed and followed, while the other researcher passedout the list to each participant. The participants received two minutes to memorize the words.Immediately after, the participants were given five minutes to recall the words in a written formon a piece of paper. One researcher collected the answer sheets while the other researcher readthe debriefing notes (Appendix B) to inform the participants about the aim. 3
  7. 7. Results The raw data (Appendix 4) shows the number of participants who recalled the wordscorrectly. The mode of the controlled group were the earlier items on the list, “ball” and “library”.The mode of the experimental group was the first item on the list, “ball”. The mean of correctwords recalled of the control group was 7.38 words (9.00 in the beginning, 6.43 in the middleand 6.71 in the end). The experimental group recorded 6.95 times on average (8.29 in thebeginning, 7.57 in the middle and 5.00 in the end). The standard deviation was 1.75 in controlledand 2.16 in experimental group. The type of data is nominal.Graph 1: The percentage of correct retrieval depending on the position of words in the controlled groupGraph 1’s curved line displays the line of best fit, which suggests that, from the first toapproximately sixteenth word on the list, the percentage of correct retrieval decreases as theword appears latter on the list. From seventeenth to the last word, however, the percentage ofcorrect retrieval increases. This generally fits the idea of original U-shape graph of the serialposition effect (Appendix E). 4
  8. 8. Graph 2: The percentage of correct retrieval depending on the position of words in the experimental groupGraph 2’s curved line displays the line of best fit, which indicates two U-shaped data in onegraph. From the first to approximately fourth word, the percentage of correct retrieval rapidlydecreases, followed by an increase from the fifth word to the ninth word. Similarly, thepercentage of correct retrieval decreases rapidly from the tenth word until the seventeenth word,which is again followed by an increase. This data of the experimental group signifies a disruptedserial position effect. 5
  9. 9. Discussion The result of this investigation supported the cause-and-effect relationship betweenhighlighted font and recall to a large extent. Irrespective of the variable, both graphs showed ahigh percentage of correct retrieval in the beginning, indicating that primacy effect occurred. Theresult of the experimental group on graph 2, however, showed a higher percentage of recall ofhighlighted middle words at the expense of the number of overall words recalled. Graph 2displayed two U-shaped data, in which the peak in the middle of the graph suggested that thehighlighted font put emphasis on those words, while as the dips in between the peaks suggested,it actually removed focus from other words. The implication of this finding resembled the original study presented in the introduction.Similar to the result of Glanzer and Cunitz’s study, the result of the controlled group on graph 1suggested that serial position effect was present. However, this investigation differed from theoriginal study in the way that the total number of words recalled in the experimental group wasnot greater than that of the control group. While the independent variable from the Glanzer andCunitz’s study, improved the participants’ ability to recall more words than it would without it,the independent variable in this investigation only improved the participants’ ability to recall thewords that were manipulated, while decreasing the number of other words recalled. Since the investigation was a controlled experiment, many variables were kept constantwhile the only noticeably influential variable was the independent variable, strengthening thevalidity of the outcome. Also, the degree of generalizability of this study was cross-culturalbecause the participants were from diverse backgrounds. However, one of the weaknesses werethe way the participants were able to freely memorize any words. Some of the participantsreceived the list and merely studied one part of the list to memorize just that part. For futuresuggestions, the researcher should instruct the participants not to do so. In addition, theresearchers should allocate the same number of females and males and conduct the experimentearlier in the day since some seemed motiveless to take the test after school. Finally, although theexperiment was controlled and precise, it may lack ecological validity.ConclusionIt was expected that the highlighted font will alter the primacy or the recency effect. Thisexpectation was supported to some extend because although the primacy effect remained intact,the recency effect was disrupted. Overall, the important finding from the statistical analysis wasthat highlighted font does attract attention for better recall while removing attention from non-highlighted font. Now the new question that one may ask is whether highlighting all the wordswill help to increase the correct recollection in total. 6
  10. 10. Works Cited“Experiment Description: Free Recall and the Serial Position Effect.” Athabasca University. 27 June 2005. Web. 30 Nov. 2009.Tavris, Carol and Carole Wade. Psychology in Perspective. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice- Hall, 2001. Print. 7
  11. 11. AppendicesAppendix ADear _____________,You have been chosen to participate in an IB psychology experiment. The IB Psychology courseis an optional class that studies the various perspectives of modern psychology, taught by Mr.Dale Howe. The experiment that we plan to conduct thrives to study human memory, specificallythe ability of a subject to memorize words from a list.We will conduct the study in ___________’s room on _____________. The results will beconfidential unless the subject [you] wishes otherwise. Please understand that at any point, youhave the right to withdraw from the experiment, and you cannot be forced to continue.Taking part in this experiment will help us immensely, and will not take more than half an hourof your time. If you intend to come, please fill out the following form, which will indicate yourconsent to participate, and return it to your teacher.If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at:Yotam Gotal: 0851367369, ygotal@gmail.comFuyuki Watanabe: 0851493203, fuyuki31@hotmail.co.jpMaria Yamaguchi: 0871009617, maria_ajup@hotmail.comThank you,The IB Psychology studentsI agree to participate in a psychology experiment conducted by Yotam Gotal (Gr. 11), MariaYamaguchi (Gr. 11), and Fuyuki Watanabe (Gr. 11). I understand that this experiment’sprocedure has been approved by Psychology teacher Mr. Dale Howe. I recognize the fact that Ican withdraw from the experiment at any point, and may not be forced to continue in any way. Iunderstand that after the experiment the results will be available only to myself, and will stayconfidential if I so desire. Finally, I understand this experiment follows the InternationalBaccalaureate Psychology Ethics Guidelines. Accordingly I declare that I agree to take part inthe following experiment, which will simply test my ability to recall words from a list.Please Sign to Declare your Consent:Date: __________________________Signature of parent or guardian: __________________________Signature of designated subject: __________________________ 8
  12. 12. Appendix BHi All!Thank you for coming,Today you will be participating in an IB (International Baccalaureate) Psychology IA (InternalAssessment) test.During the test you will be given 2 minutes to memorize a list of words, and then five moreminutes to write them down on a piece of paper which you will be given.Please remember you have the right to leave at any point during the experiment if you feeluncomfortable in any way. Furthermore, the results of the test will remain confidential, andnames will not be used in our final report.Please ask your questions now and refrain from talking during the test. The order in which yourewrite the words does not matter, neither does the spelling.Please take this experiment seriously and please do cheat as this is a crucial step towards our IBdiploma,Yotam Gotal, Mia Yamaguchi, and Fuyuki WatanabeThank you all for completing our Psychology IA!In general, the test you have just completed is meant to alter the serial-positioning effect, whichclaims that subjects will remember the words in the beginning and end of a list better than they’llremember the words in the list’s middle.We greatly appreciate your participation, you have helped us greatly.Please hand in your papers to one of us before you leave.Yotam Gotal, Mia Yamaguchi, and Fuyuki Watanabe 9
  13. 13. Appendix C Ball Library Enter Grade Internet Joke Crayon Lame Mail Food Apple Pen Cake Tree Space Elephant Ink Kite Country Monkey Lemon 10
  14. 14. Appendix D Controlled Group Experimental Group Ball 10 10 Library 10 9 Enter 8 7 Beginning Grade 9 8 Internet 9 8 Joke 9 8 Crayon 9 8 Lame 8 10 Mail 8 6 Food 7 7 Middle Apple 6 9 Pen 6 8 Cake 5 7 Tree 6 6 Space 6 5 Elephant 8 5 Ink 6 3 End Kite 3 3 Country 8 5 Monkey 7 5 Lemon 9 9 11
  15. 15. Appendix E (Tavris and Carole) 12

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