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The Effect Of Speed Of Word Presentation On The Primacy And Recency Effect In Free Recall: A Report Done For An Experimental Psychology Class

1741 words - 7 pages

Running head: THE EFFECT OF SPEED ON WORD PRESENTATIONThe Effect of Speed of Word Presentation on the Primacy and Recency Effect in Free RecallAbstractThe purpose of this experiment was to replicate the free recall experiment done by Murdock (1962). The experiment included manipulation of the speed at which the words were presented in order to see the effect that these words would have on the ability of a subject to recall them.List 1 was presented ant a rate of one word every two seconds, while list 2 was presented at a rate of one word per second. There were 18 subjects used in this experiment. A dependent measures t-test was used and this showed that there was a significant difference between the means of the two groups. The data also suggests the existence of primacy and recency effect, that the recall of a word depends on its position within the list of words, and is more likely to be recalled if it located at the beginning or end of the list.IntroductionMurdock (1962) conducted a free recall experiment in an attempt to identify and determine whether the length of a list of words and the rate at which the words were presented, affected the ability of a subject to recall that list. Free recall was defined as a subject's ability to remember and recall a list of words that have been read to the subject.The chance that a word will be recalled depends on that position of the word within the list of words being read. Words that were presented at the beginning and end of the list were more likely to be recalled than those words presented in the middle of the list. These effects have since been referred to as the primacy and recency effect respectfully. (Glietman 1994)In Murdock's experiment, lists of word stimuli was read to the subjects at the rate of one word for every two seconds, or at the rate of one word every second. After each list was read there was a recall period for one and one-half minutes, in which the subjects wrote down all of the words that they were able to recall. The results showed that the mean number of words recalled did not differ significantly when the stimuli was presented at different rates.Murdock (1962) also demonstrated that there were certain characteristics associated with the graph of free recall data. The primacy effect was extended over the first 3-4 words, the recency effect was extended over the last 8 words, and there was a horizontal asymptote that connected these two effects. Murdock (1962) showed that the recency effect would be characterized by an "S" shape form, that would happen when the increase in the words being recalled that was associated with the recency effect reached a horizontal asymptote for the last few words presented.The purpose of the current experiment was to replicate Murdock (1962) using an experimental psychology class at a city college university. It was predicted that the results would be similar to those obtained by Murdock (1962) and that the primacy and recency effect could be more...

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