“Context-Dependent Memory in Two Natural Environments:
On Land and Underwater”
This article examined how two different natural environments could affect the extent of memory. Divers were taught sets of words either underwater or on dry land and then recalled in either the same or different environment. There has been a strong belief that what someone learns in a specific environment is best recalled in that environment. There have been many previous experiments done to prove context-dependent memory, however, no hard evidence has been collected yet. Artificial environments created in the laboratory were used in these past experiments, which is why underwater was used in this new experiment because it presents the most natural environment possible. The point of this experiment is for the amount of recalled words to be significantly greater when learned in the same environment rather than alternative environments.
The researchers gathered a total of eighteen subjects: thirteen male and five female. There were five different lists of words, which each contained 36 random, two or three syllable words. Each list was presented twice in groups of three words and between each of these groups was a four second break to give the divers a consistent pattern for breathing. In order to minimize primary memory effects, after the second presentation of the lists, 15 digits were given to the divers to copy down and then were told to rise to the top of the water for four minutes. Once this delay was over, the divers were instructed to write down as many of the words on the list that they could remember for two minutes. The same procedure took place for the subjects that were tested on dry land and sitting at the edge of the water with all of their equipment off. The researchers allowed a practice round to take place before the experiment began to familiarize the subjects with what their task was. The independent variable in this experiment was the environment that the...
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