Discuss How Social or Cultural Factors Affect Memory - Ib Psychology

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  • Topic: Culture, The Culture, Cultural studies
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  • Published : February 11, 2013
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Discuss how social or cultural factors affect memory
Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses; opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.

Cognitive psychologists have traditionally conducted research and studies in western countries. So if we assume that memory is universal, then all humans all over world and all different cultures would perform memory tasks with the same results. This is not the case. So when conducting studies in non-western countries, it was found that non-western people did poorly in many memory tests. It is easy to just conclude that they have worse memory than western people, but for it to be non-biased we have to have an insight to the culture and social demands of the participants, before making a conclusion.

So two cross-cultural psychologists Cole and Scribner (1974) conducted a study to investigate memory strategies in different cultures. They compared recall of a series of words among the kids in the US and in the Kpelle children in Liberia. They did not use the same list of words for both countries. They wanted to make sure the Kpelle people were familiar with the words and that they were part of every-day life. The Kpelle people were asked to recall as many items as possible form four categories: utensils, clothes, vegetables and tools while the children in the US were asked to recall items from four categories that related to their culture. Even though all these precautions were made to not create an un-biased environment, Cole and Scribner found obtrusive cultural differences in the way the different cultural groups remembered the words. From the Kpelle people, there were two groups participating - children that had attended school and non-schooled children.
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