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Psyche Memory

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* Liana Cornacchio * PSY Lab B11 * November 15, 2012 *
Lab Report 1, Lab 5: Memory

Introduction/Hypothesis * In this study we are putting Baddeley’s Model of Working Memory to test to see if working memory is in fact divided into parts three parts: the visuospatial sketchpad, central executive, and the phonological loop. Baddeley believes that the loop and the sketchpad do not interact; we formed a similar hypothesis. Working memory has separate systems for sound/verbal information and visual/spatial information. We hypothesized that there was no interaction between the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad, like Baddeley. So, the phonological distracter would more negatively impact the participants’ performance on the phonological task than the visuospatial distracter and vice versa.

Methods * The participants of this study were random volunteers from Psy Lab section B11, the lab in which the study took place. The age range was 18-20 years old and there were 3 males and 3 females that took part in the study. To conduct this study Microsoft PowerPoint was used to create slideshows for the different situations described below. The Internet was also used for the distracters. To record the data we found we used Microsoft Excel as well as pen and paper. For the tasks that required the use of a timing apparatus, we used an iPhone stopwatch. To ensure there was no subject biases we used a Latin square to decide the order in which each individual subject completed the tasks. Each scenario was set up at a different computer so that the experiment would run smoothly and efficiently. * To test the hypothesis we created four scenarios to test if working memory has separate systems for phonological and visuospatial information. We created two visual tasks and two auditory tasks. The first visual task had a visual distracter and the second visual task had an auditory distracter. The same was arranged for the auditory tasks, one had an auditory distracter and one had a visual distracter. * The first visual task was a picture of random shapes placed on a grid and the participant had 15 seconds to memorize where the shapes were. Then for the visual distracter the participant had to complete a maze (which was found on the internet). Upon completion of the maze we showed the participant the original grid only this time the grid did not have the shapes on it. We asked the participant where each shape was originally located. We recorded how many locations they got correct and how many incorrect. * For the second visual task we presented a slideshow of 5 different abstract shapes (4 seconds per shape) and asked the participant to memorize each shape. Then, we used a phonological distracter, which was asking the participant to recite the ABC’s backwards. Once they completed the ABC’s backwards we presented a slideshow of 5 abstract shapes – some were the same as the original shapes and some were not – for each shape shown we asked if they had seen that shape in the original slideshow. We recorded how many shaped they correctly or incorrectly answered. * For the first phonological task, each participant was read, slowly, a list of numbers (487 529 835 206 735) and asked to memorize them. The same person ran this condition to assure consistency in speed of speech. Then for the visual distracter we asked the participant to play Pac Man for 30 seconds (we provided a link to the internet game). After 30 seconds we then asked them to recite, in order, as many numbers as they could remember from the list they were told. We recorded how many numbers they could recite in order out of the 15 they were given. * For the second phonological task we read a list of letters to the participant (CBWJSLRXMQOV). We asked them to remember as many letters as possible. Then, for the phonological distracter, we had each participant recite the tongue twister “I know New York, I need New York, I know I need unique New York.” 7 times fast. After they did the tongue twister we asked them 8 true or false questions about the letters they heard in the beginning of the task. Each question consisted of 4 letters – some of which were direct chunks from the original list (in which case, when asked if they had heard those letters the correct answer would be yes) and some were random letters that were not given in the original list.

Results * After completing the experiment with six participants we found that overall, there was an increase in correct answers when the participant was given a visual task with a visual distracter and a phonological task with a phonological distracter. We hypothesized the participants’ performance on the phonological task would be more negatively impacted by the phonological distracter than the visuospatial distracter and vice versa. The results found did not support our hypothesis and predictions. Table 1 shows the averages of the participants’ correct responses for each task. This is also presented in more detailed in table 2. The participants had many correct responses in the visual tasks – with both visual and phonological distracters – as well as in the phonological task with the phonological distracter. The average percentage of correct responses for the visual task with visual distracter and the phonological task with the visual distracter were 73% and 41%, respectively. The results of the tasks with the visual distracter support our hypothesis. The average percentage correct for the visual task with the phonological distracter was a lot higher, 87%, than we hypothesized. The possible reasons for this are investigated in the discussion. * The graph presents the results of each task side by side. If our hypothesis was correct, the lines on the graph would intersect in the middle but instead they don't cross at all, due to the visual task with the phonological distracter yielding such a high average of correct responses. The vertical axis shows the proportion of answers correct and the horizontal axis presents which task was given. The different patterned lines show either the auditory distracter or the visual distracter. The fact that the lines did not intersect shows that the participants had significantly higher correct responses after the visual task and the phonological distracter than we had predicted.

Discussion * There were several conundrums of this experiment that led to the results not supporting our hypothesis. The main problem was the amount of time that we had to design and execute the experiment. There was very little time to decide on effective distracters and tasks. This led to some tasks being harder than others - thus creating a large outlier. Our second condition, the visual task with the auditory distracter yielded more correct responses. We figured out after we had our results that maybe the design could have been altered to create a tougher task. The task was to remember five abstract shapes and be able to decide, after the distracter, whether they had seen the original shapes in a group of new shapes. The auditory distracter for this task, recite the ABC’s backwards, proved to be poorly designed as well. This is because some of our subjects knew the alphabet backwards without even having to think about it. This then led to the distracter only being a few seconds long and so the original shapes were still fresh in their working memory. Another problem with this study was the fact that every participant was aware of the expected results because we had just gone over them as a class and each participant was conducting a similar study at the same time. If the allotted time for the design and completion of the study was longer the results could have supported our hypothesis. For the future, a study similar to this one could be conducted to create more realistic and accurate results. Also, it would be interesting to see the results among different countries and populations.

Appendix

* Table 1 * Task/Distracter | * Totals | * V/V | * 23/30 | * V/P | * 26/30 | * P/V | * 37/90 | * P/P | * 44/48 | * * Table 2 * * * *…...

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