Commentary on results - Sample Essay

From the results we can see that there is a clear difference in the number of words remembered by the different groups; video game group participant’s remembered the lowest number of words on average and many of them getting four words right. The control group remembered the most amounts of words on average which was 6. 7 words and the music group participants came in between with 5. 1 words being remembered on average. These results support the experimental hypothesis as the video game group remembered the least amount of words and the control group who could rehearse the words if they wanted to, remembered more.

I feel that it is safe to say that the experimental hypothesis was correct and is supported enough by the results which mean that the null hypothesis can be rejected. Discussion: Validity – the operationalisation of the variables allowed for the collection of quantitative data; this then showed in the results where the different types of interference had different amounts of effect on recall. Therefore the task can be said to be fairly valid as it measured what it was supposed to.

However the task lacked ecological validity as the interference only lasted for two minutes but in reality, people play video games or listen to music for a longer amount of time; it could also be argued that two minutes isn’t a sufficient amount of time to have a significant effect on recall. To improve validity, another experiment could be conducted which would involve a group trying to learn an address of a house which could then be interfered with by people talking to them or they could recite another address they already know whilst they are trying to remember it.

This would improve the validity of the experiment as the situation occurs in everyday life and could test what sort of interferences has the largest effect. Reliability – the reliability of the experiment could have been affected by a number of factors; the first would be that the experiment was conducted during a wedding party so the participants may not have been concentrating fully on the task at hand as they could have been distracted by what was going on out there; however there was an attempt to minimise outside noise so participants weren’t distracted.

Another factor could have been that the music being played may not have suited the taste of some of the participants and they may have ignored it which could have improved their recall. Similarly for the video game group, some of the players may have concentrated on it more than others which could have affected recall. Lastly, individual differences could have meant that people with better memory could recall better which meant that the results could have been affected.

The reliability of the experiment could have been bettered by having a larger sample which would render any anomalies obsolete as they would be made up for by the other results. Also the use of different stimulus such as numbers and pictures could have been remembered by the participants who would then face an interference task. This would then allow for more reliable results to surface as you could see which interference task has the largest effect when participants try to recall the numbers, words etc.

Implications of study – the findings of this study suggest that there is a larger interference on recall when playing video games rather than listening to music. This may be due to the fact that playing video games requires active participation and more concentration than listening to music which is why the results have turned out as they have. These findings do back up Peterson and Peterson’s study as they too found that recall was affected by the interference (counting backwards in threes) and that information is lost easily from short term memory if not rehearsed.

Generalisability – the study does not allow for a full generalisation about the population to be made simply because the sample is too small and since the participants were selected at random, there is no possibility of generalising about a particular section of the population. However it is unlikely that significantly different results would be achieved if the rest of the population was sampled as memory is a feature everyone possess apart from those who have suffered from brain damage; therefore, on average, it would be expected that the results would be similar.

The use of stratified sampling would have enabled generalisations to be made about particular sections of the population. Applications to everyday life – an application of this study could be when someone is trying to memorise a passage of script for a drama performance; whilst trying to rehearse it, he/she could be distracted by other things going on such as noise from other members of the cast or by something else. This would lead to lower recall as he/she had her rehearsal interfered with when trying to memorise the script.