Pre lab assessment questions Student’s name: Stephanie Jones Student ID number: s5054629
1. Dependent and Independent Variables
Check your understanding of the experimental method by identifying the independent variable (IV) and dependent variable (DV) in the following investigations.
1a. Autonomic Nervous System Experiment in Week 3 Tutorials
IV (name the two levels): Thought type (neutral and negative)
DV (and how was it operationalised?): Arousal, measured by heart rate (BPM)
Once you have done this (which is revision), describe what the IVs and DVs may be in the following studies:
1b. Organisational Psychology An organisational psychologist develops a new training program to improve IT personnel courtesy to clients in a large organisation. He conducts an experiment to see whether the training program leads to a reduction in the number of client complaints and an increase in the number of positive comments.
IV: complaints and positive comments.
DV(s) (and how were they operationalised?: the new training program.
1c. Visibility of Road Signs A researcher wants to find out how the font and colour (using a computer’s colour palette) of road signs affects the visibility of road signs. He manipulates the font and colour of the lettering and measures how long drivers take to respond to the signs
IV: Font and colour.
DV (and how was it operationalised?): how long drivers take to respond to the signs.
2. Questions on the background research paper
As noted above, background research paper is:
Nairne, J.S., VanArsdall, J. E., Pandeirada,J. N. S., Cogdill, M., & LeBreton, J.M. (2013). Adaptive memory: The mnemonic value of animacy. Psychological Science, 24, 2099-2105.
and the .pdf of this paper is provided in two places on [email protected]: in this folder Assessment/ Assignment Planning Document and Course Content/Assessment/Tutorials/Week 4. All of the following questions in this section relate to this paper and other documents in the Assessment/ Assignment Planning Document. Their Study 2 is relevant here.
2a. Purpose of the Experiment and Introduction
The authors believe that there is an animacy effect in memory. What is does it mean to be inanimate? The authors explain that animacy can be considered as any living things, including nonhuman animals, plants and perhaps even bacteria or viruses. With this in mind, it could be concluded that an inanimate means to be non-living and without a recognisable face.
Summarize their main argument (1 or 2 sentences) for why they believe we as humans may have a better memory for animate as opposed to inanimate things? The report argues that considering the evolutionary perspective it is reasonable to suggest that memory systems are selectively tuned to process and remember animate things. The report also refers to the data to explain that animacy is an extremely significant mnemonic dimension.
One difficulty in research that compares memory for animate and inanimate words is that these two word types tend to also differ along dimensions other than ‘animacy’. Name two such dimensions that the authors mentioned in the introduction. In the introduction, the authors mentioned animacy as a foundational dimension and then also mentioned animacy as a critical mnemonic dimension.
2b Method (Study 2 only of Nairne et al., 2013)
In the Lecture in Week 5 (also see the textbook pp. 251 to 253), we learnt how primacy and recency effects aid in the free recall of words. What may have been done to control for these effects in Study 2? To ensure that the serial position effect did not interfere with the animacy effect it would be useful to have the first and last words (primacy and regency) to be a mixture of animate things and inanimate things. This could be one attempt at controlling the effects.
2c Results and Discussion (Study 2 only)
The dependent variable was: the number of words participants would remember.
The independent variable was: the 3 different types of words (Animate, animate/face and inanimate).
Look at Fig 2 on page 2103 of the research article and fill-in the following questions: Free recall was less accurate for inanimate words than for animate words.
Were there any trials on which this did not occur? No, all four trials displayed the same pattern in the results.
In their General Discussion, what did the authors conclude about the mnemonic value of animacy? The authors concluded that from the data it suggested that animacy is an extremely significant mnemonic dimension. It was also mentioned in the general discussion that the authors believe “it is possible that animate stimuli are remembered well because of perceptual or attentional priorities, rather than mnemonic tunings” (Nairne J, 2015).
In our experiment conducted in Week 4, what did we test in addition to testing animate and inanimate words? In our experiment we also tested the serial position theory as well as the animacy theory.
3. Writing up the Week 4 Stimuli and Procedure Sections
In Week 2 Laboratories, we conducted a very simple Stroop effect experiment. All materials, including the Powerpoint used in this tutorial, have been uploaded to [email protected] An example of how to write up the Method and Results section of this Stroop experiment (with notes) has been uploaded into this folder: Assessment/Assignment Planning Document/Stroop Method and Results.pdf. Using this document as a model (also see REDBOOK), I want you to have a go at writing up the Materials and Procedure only sections for our Experiment in Week 4 on Animacy in Memory.
3a. Materials (150 word max) List of the words used, how many animate, how many inanimate, how many animate with face words were presented to class, describe the distraction task, and finally, how recalled words were recorded. List of Words Animate Inanimate Animate/face Tree Shed Baby Flower Book Lawyer Leaf Plate Clown Bath Girl Truck Teacher Chair Dolphin Mask Cat Brush Bee Door Lion Letter Bird Dress Horse Slug Spider Duck Crab Koala Wolf
Animate Inanimate Animate/face 3 11 17
Distraction Task The distraction task was completed by participants immediately after the initial words were shown. This task involved a series of 20 numbers being displayed at the front of the room for a period of 1 second each. The participants were asked to record whether the number shown was odd or even and repeat this for all 20 numbers. The results were then marked by the tutor reading the results out loud and participants marking their own work. How words were recalled The recall task involved the participants been given 4 minutes to recall as many words out of the 31 as possible. The participants were given a piece of paper to write the words they remembered onto and were then asked to sort the words into animate, inanimate and animate/face categories.
3b Procedure (150 words max) At what rate were the words presented and how long were they on the screen, how much time did the distraction task take, how fast were the numbers presented and how long for free recall The mixture of 31 animate, inanimate and animate/face words were presented to the participants individually at 5 second intervals. The distraction task then took 1 minute and the series of 20 numbers were presented individually at 1 second intervals. The participants were then given 4 minutes to recall and record as many words as they could.