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Does Schema Theory Effect Memory Encoding?

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HL Psychology

Does Schema Theory effect memory encoding?

Introduction:
Memory can be defined as the process of reproducing and recalling information from something that has been learned before. (W. Matlin) There are two main types of memory storages, short term storage and long term memory storage. Short term memory is usually described as the recollection of information that happened recently, while long term memory is something that can retain and stay in your brain for long periods of times. (Zimmermann, 2014)
Schemas are mental saving devices, they are plans for action and frameworks for thinking. Schemas originally are used and serve as a window through which we perceive the way the world is. They are hierarchies of knowledge and provide us with all sort of different information. They allow us to navigate ourselves in a complex world through this pre-existing rules and guides for action and thought. (Bryan).
A study conducted by (Bartlett, 1932) “War of the Ghosts” was aimed to investigate the effects of schemas on human memory. In the method the participants were asked to read a story about an American tale where people were hunting seals in Canoes. The participants’ memory was tested and investigated by repeated reproduction and serial reproduction. In serial reproduction, the first participant would read the original story and then rewrite what they remember about it. The first participant’s reproduction would then be read by the second participant who also then reproduced it for a third participant. This procedure goes on until around 7 reproductions are made by an equal number of participants. In repeated reproduction, the same participant writes all seven reproductions of other participants over a long period of time. The results showed that the two methods concluded in very similar results however the story became much shorter and it changed to suit the participant’s cultural background. For example, ‘hunting seals’ turned into ‘fishing’ and ‘canoes’ became ‘boats’. Methodically this is a very strong study with two ways of assessing schema use (serial reproduction and repeated reproduction) and conducted over many years. The basic principle of this study and schema theory is people have the tendency to change details to suit their own cultural status and frame of understanding.

The office Schema study by Brewer and Treyens (1981) conducted an experiment where they tested memory of people on different objects that were in an office. The participants were asked to go to the office individually and observe for 35 seconds. In result, expected objects (fixed value) such as desks, pencils, etc. were recalled very well, however unexpected objects (optional value) such as a pair of pliers were usually not recalled. Some participants even recalled false objects that weren’t present in the room. Therefore schema theory can demonstrate how memory is distorted and changed way more than thought, as it has an affect on both retrieval and encoding.
Another study was conducted by Anderson and Pichert (1978) argued that memory consists of both encoding (take in of new information) and retrieval (when we need to recall information and “fetch” it) and this experiment had an intention to see in a closer look, how schemas affect memory.
For the method:
Stage 1: Participants heard a story about 2 boys that went to an isolated house in an attractive location, house was described with objects such as a 10-speed bike, a colour TV, and a rare coin collection.

Stage 2: Once the participants read the story they were asked to do a distracting task
Stage 3: Half of the Participants’ schema were switched so that bullglar schema was switched to a buyer schema. And the other schema was asked to recall their original schema.
The results showed that those who were switched remembered more by 7%. This shows that schema processing have some effect o retrieval as well as encoding.
Aim: Our aim is to investigate wether schema theory affects memory encoding and retrieval.
Hypothesis: Schema theory will affect memory encoding and retrieval.

Null hypothesis: Schema theory will not have an affect on memory encoding and retrieval.…...

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