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Results and Discussion - Adaptive Memory

Essay by   •  May 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  617 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,407 Views

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The purpose of the study was to determine whether adaptive memory would have a robust effect. The hypothesis was that the recall ability would be higher for the ancestral setting than both the future and modern settings.

The results show that future scenario had the highest recall rate, followed by ancestral then modern.

There have been similar experiments performed (e.g., Weinstein, Bugg, & Roediger, 2008; Nairne, J.S., & Pandeirada, J.N.S., 2010) that also sought the relationship of adaptive memory given a survival scenario. They concluded with promising results that prove survival processing gives an advantage in terms of recall rate. Possibilities such as problematic control conditions or the subjects using a different processing method have also been negated.

To be certain that the only processing method used by the subjects is survival processing, experiments could be done in conjunction. Schematic and deep processing could be neglected if separate tests were done using solely those two then comparing those results to these. This subtraction method would then give the difference which would only be due to survival processing.

However, another theory of how the futuristic scenario gave a higher recall than ancestral and modern could be solely due to the fact that they are unusual. The past studies claim to have shown that giving subjects a survival scenario leads to better recall but I believe the main factor was due to the absurdity of the scenario. Due to the strangeness of the scenario, the subjects would be more interested and hence give more attention for the list of words shown to them. This in turn would lead to better recall and also explain why ancestral scenario gave a higher recall rate than the modern scenario.

Some things which would have increased the accuracy:

* Having the experiment earlier in the day. This way, people would not have been tired and thus effect of a more interesting scenario would be less prevalent

* Performing the experiment on a larger scale, more people. If there are different results, they would be more obvious, or if they were the same, they would be less obvious.

* Control conditions of having no scenario given.

* The word list should be made more unbiased towards any of the scenarios. If not, having a bigger word list would also suffice.

* Instead of having the scenario in text, experimenters could also try visual or audio cue to give a more in-depth feeling.

In summary, the evidence is sufficient enough to prove the initial hypothesis to be wrong, or at the very least, that survival rate is not the only factor involved. While this experiment had aimed to demonstrate once again that fitness-relevant processing is more effective than other methods of memory reinforcement,

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