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Memory Strategies

Essay by   •  October 29, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,191 Words (9 Pages)  •  3,461 Views

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The research is demonstrating the use of memory strategy in an educational setting; this study examines the use of chunking on telephone numbers by students on campus. There were a total of 40 students that participated, and they were split into two groups consisting of 20 students per group. The control group used chunking as their memory strategy for memorizing a list of 10 telephone numbers. In contrast, the experimental group has used no specific strategy to memorize the list of numbers that was given to them. Each group was given 15 minutes to memorize their list of 10 telephone numbers and they had 5 minutes to write it down on paper. People that used memory strategies has shown to have memorized more telephone numbers, than people who don't use any memory strategy to remember their list of numbers.

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Memory Strategies and Chunking

People have shown to have better recall on certain tasks when they use specific memory strategies. There are many types of strategies that people can use to improve their memory, but everyone has an effective strategy that suites them most. For activities involving memorizing a list of 10 telephone numbers, chunking would be the best method because it helps aids the sequence of numbers. People can remember about seven items give or take two, which is between five and nine items (Shiffrin, R. M., & Nosofsky, R. M. 1994). There's a certain amount of items that everyone can store in their short-term memory. That's why it's important for people to find an effective way of remembering all of the information.

Relatively large amounts of information are contained in a small number of units by chunking items together into composite units (Bousfield, A. K., & Bousfield, W. A. 1966). A strategy like chunking can be used to break larger units into smaller ones, so people can have an easier way of comprehending the information that is given to them. This process of separating the items can help a person learn things step by step, which increases their chances of recall. Telephone numbers can be separated into 3 groups, for instance 847 - 504 - 8761. People can start by memorizing 847, then 504 and finally 8761, instead of trying to remember the numbers all together.

Brown, A. L. (1978) conducted a study that dealt with remembering a list of items that is necessary for shopping at the market. His participants had to remember a list of items by categorizing each one by specific groups, such as produce or dairy products. In doing so, each participant was able to find the products they needed. When people broke

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down a list of items, it has shown greater results of them retaining all the necessary information. Since each item was categorized, it has made it easier for people to remember things more effectively.

In another study, that involves the uses of memory strategies, students had to remember a list of vocabulary words their teacher had randomly assigned to them. The students memorized the list of vocabulary words by dividing them into groups of similar characteristics (Anderson, J. R., & Bower, G. H. 1974). For the students that has used a mnemonic strategy, they have remembered more words than students that remembered the list in a randomly fashion. The results have shown that people have improved their memory capacity; by finding a strategy that helps them recalls more items.

In each of the studies, the participants have greater results in retaining more information by using certain strategies to guide them through the task. Their ability to memorize things has improved by the use of repetition and categorizing the list into a meaningful structure. Each person has their own way of interpreting information and remembering that information. When people use any type of strategy, their results are usually better than those who don't use any type of strategy that is useful to them.



College students (32 females and 8 males), ranging from the ages of 19-66 years were used as research participants in this study. The mean age for the male is 31.63 years (SD=13.72), and the mean age for the female is 30.56 (SD=12.97). Out of 40 participants, 47% were Hispanic/Spanish Descent, 32% is Black/African-American,

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while 18% are Asian/Pacific Islander and this leaves 3% to other ethnicities. Majority of the study participants has used some sort of memory strategy in their life time to memorize something more effectively. Part of using a specific memory strategy in memorizing a list of numbers is necessary to retain all the information by smaller chunks. Chunking is used to break larger things into smaller units, so people have an easier way of remembering things. The students had worked in a controlled environment, such as their classroom and each had their own individual desk. Each student had a list of 10 telephone numbers that are identical, and they were given the same amount of time to memorize the list and write down the numbers they recalled. Everything was distributed the same way, and they were equally given the same amount of time.


I timed both control and experimental groups for 15 minutes while they tried to memorize a list of 10 telephone numbers. After 15 minutes, I gave each group 5 minutes to write down as many numbers as they can remember.


I asked my father for permission to use his students as my subjects for my experiment. He allowed me to use his students at two different times during the week, so I can collect data from two dissimilar groups of participants. A group of 20 participants formed the control group and another 20 participants formed the experimental group. Each group of participants was given the informed consent and was told about the nature of the study. Afterwards, they filled out a survey about the demographics, so I can get a

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better idea of my sample. The students also received extra credit for volunteering in this experiment and they were able to withdrawal at any given time without a lost of points.

The control group was taught to use the chunking method as a memory strategy in retaining a



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