Lab: Determining What Type Of Stimulus Info Is More Easily Remembered Essay

A single subject study took place where a male, university student,
willingly took part in helping determine what type of stimulus information
is more easily remembered. The two types of stimulus introduced were
meaningful (CVC) and randomized (CVC). The number of errors made among the
two stimuli was also studied. This experiment was done using a computer
generated program on verbal learning. Using this program, the subject was
presented with seven items of stimuli (CVC) and was to remember what each
stimuli was in the correct order. It was found that there are more correct
responses when meaningful stimulus is used and the speed of responding to
the stimuli is faster when a meaningful CVC is used, rather than in random

Remembering is the retrieval of information, which is stored in
memory. The act of remembering takes place when a correct response is
given to a certain stimuli presented. Forgetting is a weakening of this
stimulus-response relationship.

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The Purpose of this experiment is to determine what type of stimulus
information is more easily remembered, be it in randomized manner or
meaningful. When are more errors made in remembering the stimuli, among
these two types of stimuli used (CVC). Also, when a correct response is
given, which was the type of stimuli (CVC) that caused this to occur.

The design of this experiment on verbal learning has both
within-subject and between-subject variables. The within-subject variables
are the words (CVC) that are stored in the computer which are the default
words to be used. The between-subject variables are the number of stimuli
used and the choice of the stimuli using the experimenters own words (CVC).

The independent variable for this lab is the number of stimuli presented
and the type of stimulus word (CVC) that was used, being both randomized
and meaningful. The dependent variables are the number of errors made and
the mean correct response latency (speed of responding).

Number of errors will be highest in the randomized ordered stimuli,
and the speed of responding will be slower in the randomized stimuli

Method A single subject, male, twenty years of age in first year of
University volunteered to take part in this experiment on Verbal Behaviour.

The apparatus used in this experiment was an IBM compatible computer,
a monochrome monitor (non-colour), and a Raven dot matrix printer. Running
on the IBM compatible was a computer generated program on Verbal Learning
from which this experiment originated.

The first step in this experiment requires that the experimenter get
the computer and program ready for the student. The computer, monitor and
printer were to be turned on . When the computer was ready and flashing a
cursor, Caps Lock was to be pressed, so all letters will be in capital
form. The name of the program to be run (VL) was to be typed into the
keyboard. When the program had loaded, a menu showed up on the screen, and
Verbal Learning (selection 8) was to be run. A timing number was to be
keyed into the computer (3.578) and then the Serial Learning feature was to
be chosen (option 1). After the above steps, the rest of the experiment was
entirely up to the experimenter.

After the timing number was entered, the experimenter could either
accept the default values for the parameters of the experiment already
stored in the computer, or could change any of the parameters.

For the first part of the experiment, the number of stimuli was
changed (option 1) from ten to seven stimuli. The stimuli (CVC) used in
this part of the experiment were in a randomized fashion. Listed below are
the parameters for the first part of the experiment and the words (CVC)
used :
1) Number Of Stimuli = 7
2) Inter-Trial Interval = 3 sec.

3) Maximum Stimulus Presentation Time = 5 sec.

4) Duration of Correct Answer Display = 5 sec.5) Completion Criterion = 3 Totally Correct Trials.

CVC Used In Randomized Fashion From Default Settings:
Stimulus Word 1) TEF
2) BUW
3) HAJ
4) QIH
5) YUJ
6) KEJ
7) ZAH
Then it was time for the subject to participate. The subject had five
seconds to view each of the seven stimulus words, which were to be
remembered in the correct order. There was a three second delay between
each of the seven words. After this inspection interval, the subject was
to type in the correct response in the exact order that the stimulus words
were shown to him. This response was to be keyed within 5 seconds. This
procedure continued until the student had correctly completed three full
trial periods of seven words.

When the three correct trials were done, a screen showed up which
contained the preliminary data analysis. Further data analysis were to be
examined so the options on the following screens to be selected were 1)
analysis of error/error latencies For each stimulus, 2) number of errors or
correct responses and 3) display data in digital form. Both the
preliminary data analysis and more data analysis information was printed.

The second part of the lab consisted of exactly the same procedure
mentioned above, except for the stimulus words to be remembered, which were
selected by the experimenter. These words were CVC with a meaningful
value. Listed below are the parameters for the second part of the
experiment and the words (CVC) used :
1) Number Of Stimuli = 7
2) Inter-Trial Interval = 3 sec.

3) Maximum Stimulus Presentation Time = 5 sec.

4) Duration of Correct Answer Display = 5 sec.5) Completion Criterion = 3 Totally Correct Trials.

CVC Used In Meaningful Fashion From Experimenter:
Stimulus Word 1) SAM
2) GOT
3) CAR
4) KEY
5) FOR
6) HIS
7) MOM
Results & Discussion
In the first part of the experiment, where the subject was presented
with words in a randomized order, the total number of trials that the
subject took to complete the criterion of 3 totally correct trials was five
trials. This shows that there were in all, five errors made and thirty
correct answers given (figure 1). The mean correct latency was 3.643011
which was how fast the subject responded to the stimuli. For every trial
that occurred among the five trials, there was a mean of 1 error per trial
and six correct answers. Looking at the analysis of errors for each
stimulus word, there were no errors in stimulus 1,2 or 3. In stimulus
4,5,6 there was one error made in each of them. In the last stimulus,7,
there was 2 errors made in trying to remember what the stimulus was. This
shows that the primacy effect where recognition is highest for the first
item and lowest for the last item is clearly demonstrated in part one.

In the second part of the lab, in which very meaningful words were
used as stimuli for the student to remember, there were zero errors made in
total (figure 2). The total number of correct responses was twenty one,
which meant that every response given by the subject was absolutely
correct. The mean correct response latency was 1.740399. Among the words
(CVC) that were used in this second part were very easy to understand, and
meaningful enough to remembered easily. This accounts for the zero errors
that were made.

These results clearly show that when presented with a randomized order
of stimuli and a meaningful set of words, the number of errors will be
higher in the randomized condition. Also the speed of responding to the
stimulus will be very quick in the meaningful form (1.740399) rather than
in the randomized order (3.643011). The difference between these two types
of independent variables is greater than two times difference in speed.

Basic capacity which is the amount of information in short term memory
can show improvement with development. One of the ways to help remember
information is in the methods of the strategy used in relation to the task
to be performed, such as where there is information that is meaningful.

Mental strategies to be used in helping memory are rehearsal, semantic
organization and elaboration. In rehearsal, if there are lip movements and
repetitions, the more the better for the memory. In semantic organization,
information which is reorganized in a more meaningful way is easier to
remember. This includes bunching and categorizing. Lastly, elaboration
using the techniques of what is meaningful to us, will be remembered. This
gives us a chance to improve our recall.

Learning has been reached when the subject gives correct answers to
all the stimuli presented. This was best shown in the second part of this
lab, where no errors were made and responses were even quicker than in part

It is known that increasing the inspection interval (maximum stimulus
presentation time) will improve performance in the time allotted to give a
response called the anticipation interval.

The measure of learning seems to vary with the independent variables
such as the number of stimuli and type of CVC used, whether they are
meaningful or randomized.

The last factor when dealing with this sort of experiment is that
performance of memory in remembering the stimuli was better, since the
recognition testing immediately followed repetitions of the words. If
there was a long delay or no delay, then memory performance will suffer.


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