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Recall and Recognition in Memory

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Remembering Words: Easier with Recall or Recognition?


The purpose of this study was to find out the effects of organization on recall and recognition and which is easier to remember. The hypothesis in the study we performed is that if there are more retrieval cues that are in the recall task than there is in the recognition task that it should be easier to recall rather than recognize. Our experiment was done by showing participants a list of words, they were shown them again either in a random order or categorically. Participants were then asked to recall and recognize the things that they could. Our hypothesis was not supported, our results showed that more participants were able to recognize rather than recall in most situations. These results show us that even when manipulating or changing and experiment to better one side that it will not always help. In past studies and in general recognition is usually easier than recall, but with our experiment, they researcher tried to mixed that up. Our results show us that it didn't work the way our hypothesis explained.


We are studying recall and recognition and how they affect your memory. The reason that we are studying recall and recognition studies is to help us become more aware of how studies work and specifically with this study to figure out which is easier to remember; recall or recognition. The researcher of this experiment that we performed is trying to demonstrate the fact that in certain situations people are able to recall words and recognize words that they had just previously seen. The reason that they performed this study was to see which comes easier for most people, either recognizing or recalling. It helps us to start to understand how the memory works.

There have been past studies done that are very relevant to the one we performed. Tulving and Weisman (1975) did one of the past studies. Their main goal in experimenting was to see if words that can be recalled are sometimes not recognized. The results found in their study are that recall and recognition are obviously related processes. Without one the other might not be possible and they interact to help you get responses. They found that people could sometimes recall rather than recognize in certain situations. The reason that this study relates to our experiment is that we showed that just because we can recall a word does not mean we can recognize it, which is the same information they got out of their experiment.

The second study we read about was trying to figure out if remembering a face has to do with the same things that were at the time of the test and were also there during the study. The subjects for this experiment were 24 Emory students of both sexes. They were fulfilling a requirement for one of their psychology courses. They did two different experiments to try and figure this out. One of the experiments that they did was focusing on an attempt to repeat Bower and Karlin's (1974) study. There study was involving the participants to encode each pair of faces in the experiment in an integrated depiction. The second study was somewhat of a repetition of study one, the only difference was the it was trying to see if background effects in recognition are dependent on unitized encoding with the faces they saw. The second study they performed helped to reinforce and confirm the first study. Throughout Buckeley and Winograd's study they found that changing framework from study to test by deleting or substituting the framework notably impaired recognition. They also found that their prediction of the interaction of context changed with the different type of encoding they used, but only for substitution not for deletion.

The hypothesis in the study we performed is that if there are more retrieval cues that are in the recall task than there is in the recognition task that it should be easier to recall rather than recognize. In most cases you are able to recognize something rather than recall it, but not in the experiments we looked at and the one we did ourselves.



The participants in this study were around 19 students from our lab section. It involved male and female, all undergraduate college students at the University of Minnesota. They ages range from 19-23 and there was a mix of different races and ethnicities. They participants were selected through the simple task of assigning certain lab groups to certain experiments. Section 7 was assigned to this particular experiment.


The materials that were used for this experiment began with a computer. All students had to be using a computer to take part in the experiment. Throughout the experiment words would show up on the computer screen and you would later have to recall or recognize them. Some distracter words were also used to see how well it could be remembered.


The procedure for this study was to first have participants study four lists of words for one minute each. Then they had five minutes for free recall. The study and recall were then repeated again. The lists were either hierarchically



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