Memory Lab

The purpose of the memory lab was to determine which environments are most suitable for memory retention. The participants of this experiment were the students enrolled in our GSC 101 physical science class. Ages ranged from 18years of age to possibly 50. Of these participants we had a wide range of educational majors, ethnical background, and genders. All participants were required to submit a list of thirty common words to be used in the experiment. The testing procedures started at approximately 8:00 p.m. every Tuesday night in class. At this time the teacher would hand each student a list of thirty words face down on the desk (from the lists required of each student). Each participant was given two minutes to study the list followed by a one-minute intermission. After the intermission, each student was given as much time as needed to recall and write down the word list of that particular night. However, each participant was required to stop after they could no longer recall the words easily.

The variables in our memory experiment were repetitions, time, colors, smells, and sounds. Our first variable was repetition. In this part of the experiment each participant was given a list of thirty words with two minutes to study and a one-minute intermission. This lab was repeated four times with the same list of words; each attempt with the same constants (study time, intermission time, and word list). The purpose of this lab was to record the effects of accuracy produced by repetitions. The second variable was time. Using the same list of words from the previous week (repetition lab), the participants were required to recall the list of words without studying them to record the effects of lapse time. This same procedure was used the following week. Again, requiring the participants to recall the list without seeing it first. The effects of color was our next variable. This was achieved by printing three different word lists on three different colors of paper. Yellow, green, and pink were the colors selected by the professor to avoid biasness. This variable was used to determine if colors had any effect on memory retention. All other variables were printed on plain white paper. The effects of smell on memory retention were also used. This procedure was accomplished using four different word lists and cotton balls, one for each student, with perfumes of gardenia, lavender, juniper, and herbal mist. Like the colors, the professor also chose the perfumes. Again, each student had the same time constants. Our last variable was sound. Slow classical, fast classical, rock, and music with words were used to record the effects of each on memory retention. The volume at which the music was played was kept the same throughout the entire sound lab. Each sound was used in conjunction with a new word list. As before, the music selection was determine by the professor.
The results of the five variables are as follows. Repetitions had the best results after the second attempt. The first attempt had a positive overall out come. The third attempt revealed a declined retention as did the forth. Week one of the time variable resulted in a decline in memory retention. After two weeks of time lapse effected the ability to recall the word list decreased yet again. The color lab produced strong positive result using green paper and a close second with yellow. Using the color pink resulted in a decline of memory retention. Of the different smells used, gardenia had the most positive effect. Lavender also had a positive effect on retention. Declination of retention was apparent with the herbal mist perfume and continued to deteriorate with use of juniper. Listening to slow classical music while studying had the best results in the sound lab. Classical music with a faster tempo also showed positive results. Rock and music with words had a comparably negative effect.

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My personal opinion is that of all the variables, music such as rock and music with words was most distracting. Of all the labs the repetitions gave me the best results. I also attribute word association to some of that success. Another underlying factor would be metal awareness. Some days I had more sleep than other days, which may have affected my concentration level. I do realize that these effects are taken into consideration. Due to facilities and time, many underlying variable were not possible to isolate.
In conclusion, this lab was useful to help hone my own study habits. Repetitions after a second time prove to be a waste of time. Extended periods of time between studying and recalling information studied can have negative effects. The color lab shows that I should consider repainting my study room green. Smells can actually hinder my memory retention and I should choose them wisely. The results with music help explain why I dont get anything accomplished when I listen to my favorite rock group while studying.



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