Method Participants There were 32 (22 female and 10 male) participants in this word recall experiment. Participants were of traditional and nontraditional college-age. The participants were from various academic majors; however, all participants were currently enrolled in one of three sections of an experimental psychology course. All of the experimental psychology students taking part in this experiment had previously completed a course in general psychology and psychological statistics earning a grade of "C" or better. The participants took part in the experiment as a learning experience for the class. Materials The experiment took place in a traditional classroom setting.
Participants sat at one of three long tables, positioned in a u-shape, facing the front of the room. There was also a row of smaller desks behind the tables in which participants could sit. The experimenter used a series of 24 PowerPoint slides, which informed the participants of their role in the experiment. Consent forms were passed out to each participant. The consent form described how the experiment was not mandatory; therefore anyone wishing not to participate could simply return their consent form and exit the room.
Additionally, number "2" pencils were given to any participant who did not have one of their own. A Gateway 2000 (E-1000) computer equipped with Microsoft PowerPoint was used to generate the slides. The slides were displayed on a Gateway 2000 35' diagonal color computer monitor. The monitor was placed on top of a portable TV stand, positioned in the front of the room. Thirty words were used on the presentation slide. Fifteen of the words used were concrete words such as cat, string, and butter.
The other fifteen words used were abstract words like pride, honor, and truth. The words on the presentation slide were set up into 3 columns of 10 words, each alternating between concrete and abstract. The words on the slides were white with a black background to ensure that all participants could easily view the slides. Arial font with a 32-point size was used.
All text was in upper case letters, also for easier viewing. The concrete and abstract words were chosen from a list of 925 words featured in Patio, Yu ille & Madigan (1968). The concreteness of all 925 words had been determined by asking subjects to rate the words on a like rt scale of (1-7) (1 = not very concrete, 7 = very concrete). The concrete words were composed of words with a concreteness value "C" of 6. 5 or higher while the abstract words concreteness value "C" was 2. 0 or lower.
The words were one, two, or three syllables long. Only words with most frequent (AA) and very frequent (A) occurrence in our language were used. The meaningfulness of the words were determined by measuring how many associations a subject could generate for a word in 60 seconds. Pairs of concrete and abstract words were selected such that their meaningfulness (M) differed by only one point or less. Response forms were used to record the participants' responses. The forms were white sheets of paper with 30 blank lines for the participants to record the words recalled.
A space to write down your class period and gender was provided at the top of the form. At the bottom were two blank lines, one set equal to "C" and the other set equal to "A." The experimenter used these lines to record the number of concrete and abstract words correctly recalled. On the line set equal to "C", the experimenter recorded the number of concrete words correctly recalled. The number of abstract words were subsequently recorded on the line set equal to "A." Design and Procedure This recall experiment used a within-subjects design. The design was not counterbalanced. The dimension of the independent variable (IV) was "Type of Word." Level 1 (Condition 1) of the independent variable (IV) was the 15 concrete words displayed on the presentation slide.
Level 2 (Condition 2) in this experiment was the 15 abstract words on the presentation slide. The participants were exposed to this presentation slide for a one-minute period. The dependant variable (DV) in this experiment was the number of words correctly recalled by the participants. A point was given for each concrete word correctly recalled.
This total was added up and recorded for Level 1 (Condition 1). The same process was done for the abstract words. A point was given for each abstract word correctly recalled. The points were added up and recorded under Level 2 (Condition 2). Each participant took a seat at either the main table or at one of the smaller surrounding desks. The experimenter started by distributing consent forms to the participants.
A number "2" pencil was also provided to any participant who had not brought their own. After all of the consent forms were returned, a response form was handed to each participant. The experimenter instructed participants to read instructions on the computer monitor and also read the instructions out loud to the participants. The first couple slides were used to inform the participants of what was about to take place and their role in the experiment.
Next the slides asked the participants to place a check mark next to their class time and gender. This was followed by a slide asking all participants to place their pencils down and wait for further instructions. The next group of slides were used to assure that all of the participants could see the monitor. This included a small, 6 word example, consistent in font style, size, and color to that of the 30 word presentation slide being used in the experiment. After it was confirmed that all of the participants could see, a series of 3 slides were used to make sure that everyone had understood everything up to this point, and were prepared for the experiment to begin.
At this point the presentation slide of 30 words was displayed. The 30 word slide contained 15 concrete and 15 abstract words. The 30 words were set up in 3 columns of 10 words each. The words on this slide alternated between concrete and abstract. The slide was exposed for a period of one minute.
After the one minute period was over a slide appeared asking participants to write down the words on their response form. The recall period lasted for one minute and thirty seconds. At the end of this time a series of slides appeared asking participants to turn over their response form. They were also asked not to discuss the events of this experiment with individuals in other sections of the course to maintain the validity of the experiment. Finally a series of slides thanking the participants for their cooperation and participation in this experiment appeared.
At this point the experimenter collected all of the pencils and response forms.