What experiment can define the differences between individuals in the group?
Extraneous variables which could have affected this experiment include literary levels, the effects of which were avoided by using only basic words. Another extraneous variable which could have affected the results was noise and other distractions which were controlled for by the experimenter by maintaining a quiet room.
The participants were gathered on a volunteer basis, using the online programme SONA which allowed 33 first-year students to sign up, receiving credit towards their course. This was the most appropriate sample to use in this case as it provided a range of data for very minimal cost and effort.
The materials required for this experiment included instruction papers for each participant, informed consent papers for each participant, ‘activity’ sheets for each participant with the words and decisions on it, sheets for each participant to write the words they can recall onto and spare pens just in case the participants do not have their own.
The procedure for this experiment began by handing the consent form to each participant which provided details on the experiment and gave space for the participants to sign to state that they understand what is asked of them and voluntarily agree to take part in the experiment as well as making them aware of their right to withdraw their data if they so wish. Anyone who didn’t have a pen with them was given one. After the consent forms had been signed and collected, the instruction sheets were given out and explained to the participants who were then given the opportunity to ask any questions to ensure that they fully understood what they were doing as confusion could lead to un-usable results. Once any queries had been cleared up, the ‘activity’ sheets were given to each participant. Each sheet had 24 words with corresponding Yes/No questions that would cause the participant to process the word either phonemically, visually or semantically. Part two of the experiment involved a distraction task which was comprised of three mathematical questions that the participants were instructed to do using only a pen and paper. This was done to make sure they really engage in the task and cannot keep thinking about the words, preventing maintenance rehearsal. Finally, for part three of the experiment, the original sheets were removed by the experimenter, and new ‘answer’ sheets were handed out. On these sheets, the participants were instructed to write as many words as they could remember in any order. After this was collected, the sheets were collected back up and the participants were free to go.