David Vasquez-MenaPsych 001Professor Bakhtawar BhadhaPaper One: Research Paper The empirical study I chose to write about and do research on focuses directly on the topic of memory. Memory consists of three parts: encoding, storing, and retrieval. Encoding is a process in which we input the information we are being told into the memory system. Storing is basically our brains getting the encoded information and retaining it. Lastly, retrieval is the act of us going back into our memory system and using that information. This is what allows us to remember information as well as recall memories or experiences from the past. Student researchers conducted a study that included two different experiments. Each experiment included recall tests and recognition tests.
Prior to this experiment, research showed that people remember and study differently depending on the type of test they are expecting to take. The experiments being conducted by the students at UCLA demonstrate how the expectation of a certain test can impact memory and the way one studies. The first experiment consisted of 48 students overall with ages ranging from 18 to 26 years old. The students had to study words from a variety of lists in which each word had a value from one to ten, and the goal being to get a high score on a memory test they would later take. They split all students into two groups.
In one group they were told to expect recognition tests and the other half were told to expect recall tests. The group that was told to expect recall tests were given one after every single list, so in total they took 8 different recall test. As for the other group that was expecting recognition tests, they did not take 8 different recognition test instead they were given 4 recognition test and 4 unexpected recall tests. The data later showed that for the students that were told to expect a recall test they performed better than the students that were told to expect a recognition test and were given the unexpected recall test. It also showed that students that study with the expectation of a recall test have better memory of the material than students studying with the expectation of a recognition test. Data also showed the students expecting a recognition test were less attentive to item importance than those of the other group.
It also demonstrated that students expecting a recognition test when given the first unexpected recall test were unable to swiftly adapt to the change of test format. The second experiment also consisted of 48 students overall with ages ranging from 18 to 26 years old. This experiment was similar because they still had two test, but the only thing that changed was they made the recognition test more demanding. The way they did this is by adding two lure words that sounded similar to the original word. For example, if they used the word “shovel” the other two lure words would be “shovel” and “hovel.” The data showed that with the change of difficulty on the recognition test this made item value be taken into consideration when studying. They also concluded that these demanding test motivates changes in study as well as retrieval which later helped the students to adapt more easily to new formatting demands. In both experiments students who studied for a recall test always performed better than those who studied expecting a recognition test.
It wasn’t until they altered the recognition test where they saw the shift in studying the important information which would lead to better memory in tests. Overall the experiments showed that students who study for a recall test are more likely to study the important information which will ultimately lead them to perform better. With the information that experiment two gave us it shows that when the recognition test got harder the students actually focused on item value which would lead them to study important information. The study clearly tells us that students will do better when expecting a test that requires more thinking and memory skills. If students were to know what kind of test they will be taking especially if the test is demanding, either a recall or recognition test, then of course students would use the best strategies to learn the important information. This study can be connected to lectures in class and text because we had a whole chapter on memory. Like I said in the beginning of the paper, memory consists of three stages in this case we can connect the study to all three, but to make it easier the best one to connect it to would be retrieval.
The way it’s connected to the study is that the students studying for either test had to retrieve the information from their memory storage to be able to say what words they knew and which ones they didn’t. Something I found pretty interesting is that in the study they talk about a recognition test, but I remember professor Bhadha teaching us and saying that recognition is one way you can retrieve information out of your long-term memory. Also that recognition is recognizing information that you have already learned after seeing it again. Something else I can connect the study to were several activities we did in class with professor Bhadha.
These activities were really interesting and I enjoyed them very much because they made you think and also help you understand how memory works. Professor Bhadha showed us on the projector a series of images that included for example a bucket, a pipe, an umbrella, etc. and she showed us the images for no more than 3 seconds. Once she finished with the slide show, she later told us to get a blank piece of paper and write down all the images we saw on the projector. I believe we only had a certain amount of time to write down the words which made it that much difficult because I was stressing over trying to remember all of them. The way this is connected is because when doing the activity in class we were using our working memory to remember the images being presented on the projector. The activity itself was an example of a recall test which is what the students were taking for the experiment.
This can be linked to the study overall because in the experiments they would be shown a list of words instead of images which is the same process. The students in the experiment are using their working memory to be able to retain all the words that have the most value and hope it transfers to their long-term memory. When it’s time to retrieve the words, they remember what words had the highest value to be able to perform well in the test. Another activity that we did in class that can relate to the study would be the recognition test we did with another set of images. Professor Bhadha also projected the images in this activity for us to get a quick glimpse of them before we would take the actual test. Once she was done showing us all the images she later put them all at once on the projector, and then asked us to write down the ones we recognized. After taking both the recall and recognition test I felt better on the recognition test because I had the images right in front of me. As for the recall test I had to really think and use my memory to try and write down as many words as I could which made it that much more difficult.
The study at UCLA just proves that recall test requires the student to think and use their memory more rather than a recognition test which is less demanding. With that being said I strongly believe that this study has enhanced what I already learned in lectures and the text. I can also say that this study also helped me learn things I didn’t know which is always good. I personally loved the topic on memory, so researching this study and learning about it was really interesting and makes me want to find more experiments on memory. Something that I would love to research more about is the effect stress has on long-term memory. The idea at our brain stores memories and experiences into our long-term memory for us to be able to bring them to conscious awareness is just so cool. It would be really interesting to see how researchers would collect that data.
To finalize, the study report stated that further research would investigate whether expectations on recall or recognition tests change the students attention on text passages or essay exams. I believe to find this they would have to run similar experiments, but change the testing to essays and text passages. Who knows everyday we are finding new information on memory and how the brain works, so we can only hope for the best.