The Effect of Recall on Non-Meaningful Words

Topics: Serial position effect, Learning, Hermann Ebbinghaus Pages: 6 (1469 words) Published: October 4, 2012

TOPIC: The Effect of Word Position on Recall of Non-meaningful Words.

ID NUMBER: 10306280

ABSTRACT: 60 participants were selected randomly from University of Ghana, Accra City Campus and the main campus. They were assigned to 2 groups, experimental and control group. The experimental group was made to immediately recall in serial order, a list of 16 3-letter nonsense syllables within a period of 30 seconds, after the words were presented on a screen serially. This was done 10 times per student. The same procedure was used for the control group however they were made to recall the same items in any order (free recall). The average correct responses were recorded and the results show the effect of word position on recall of nonsense syllables. The methods of learning employed in the experiment fall under Verbal Learning. The results of the experiment are discussed in this research.

Verbal Learning is usually identified with the learning or memorization of words in a list. It is also involved with the acquisition and retention of information. It is concerned with what happens when we learn word combinations and word contexts. The presentation of words was done serially within 30 seconds with the recall of the words immediately followed within an interval of 2 seconds. 10th study-test method was used, that is, after 10 trials; the serial order of different words will be presented to another set. In this research, we aim at finding if there is an effect and significant difference between recall in serial order and free recall. Previous studies have shown that it is easier to recall meaningful words than nonsense syllables. Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, was the first to experimentally investigate the properties of human memory. He used nonsense syllables (consonant-vowel-consonant sequences) to construct lists of perhaps 20 items and then memorized these lists systematically. Through this, he discovered the serial position curve – the relation between the serial position of an item and the ability to recall it. Items in the beginning of the list were easier to recall than items in the middle (primacy effect). Those near the end of the list were also easier to recall than those in the middle (recency effect). These 2 effect together yield a curve that is roughly U-shaped ( STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS: It is easier to recall nonsense syllables in a random order (free recall) than in a serial order (serial recall). OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS

Nonsense syllables: Three letter syllables, a collection of letters that have no obvious meaning. Typical nonsense syllables are three-letter consonant-vowel-consonant sequence called trigram. Serial recall: Here, the learner is made to reproduce the entire list of words in the same order that it was presented. Free recall: Here, the learner has the freedom to recall the items learnt in a list in any order.

60 participants, both male and female, level 300 students, were randomly selected from Legon and Accra City Campuses of University of Ghana by selecting every 5th student in the Psychology of Learning class. They were assigned to 2 equal groups of 30 per group. Group 1 (experimental group) was made to learn a list of 16 trigrams (nonsense syllables) to a criterion of 10 trials using the study-test method. The list of words was presented in the same serial order during each trial, after which the participants were made to immediately recall these same nonsense syllables in the same order in which they appeared within 30 seconds. This was repeated till the 10th study- test method per participant. The same procedure was used for group 2 (control group), however, they were made to immediately recall the same items in any order (free recall). Both experiments were done independently of each other. The between-subjects...
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