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Baddeley

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Baddeley

You may have heard of Baddeley and Hitch for their famous work on the Working Memory Model in 1974. Before this, Baddeley conducted research to identify the coding of long-term memory. Previous research on memory established that there are separate stores for short- and long-term memory (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968).

For example, the short-term memory store is thought to encode information acoustically. At the same time, the long-term memory store is supposed to encode information semantically.

  • Encode: how information is 'coded'/ or converted to be stored in a memory store.
  • Semantic: memories are stored based on the meaning of the information, coding the concepts and abstract parts of an object or thought.
  • Acoustic: memories are stored based on coding sounds.

Baddeley a brain made up of computerised components StudySmarterA brain made up of computerised components, pixabay.com

Baddeley Findings

The research aimed to investigate which words could be stored better in long-term memory: semantically or acoustically similar words.

Research design

First, we will outline the design of his research.

Variables

The independent variable (IV) that was investigated had three levels:

  1. Acoustically similar words versus acoustically dissimilar ones (tested using an independent group design).
  2. Semantically similar words versus semantically dissimilar ones (tested using an independent group design).
  3. Performance before and after the delay period (tested using a repeated-measures design).

The dependent variable was: the number of words recalled in the correct order (calculated as a %)

Sample

72 male and female students were recruited using opportunity sampling. Participants were allocated into four groups so that the first two levels of the IV could be tested. However, all of the participants were tested to measure the third level of the IV.

Procedure

  • Each of the four groups was shown a slideshow, and each slide displayed a word (total of 10) for three seconds.

    • Level 1 IV group was split into two groups. The experimental group saw words that sounded similar, and the control group was shown words that sounded differently, e.g., Cat, Pat, Fat, Hat versus Cow, Pen, Max, Dot.

    • Level 2 IV group was split into two groups. The experimental group saw words with similar meanings, and the control group was shown words with different meanings, e.g., Small, Tiny, Little, Mini versus Small, Whole, Eat, Dog.

      • The words were short and simple.

      • They were displayed on signs throughout the room.

      • Both groups had to complete an interference test before memorising the order of the words.

The explanations why Baddeley used these conditions:

  • Longer and more complex words may be harder to recall (the research aim was not to test this), so he used short and simple words.
  • The words were displayed throughout the room so that the participants could focus on recalling the order of the words rather than the words themselves.
  • The purpose of the interference task was to ensure that memory recall was based on the long-term rather than the short-term memory.
  • Participants had to complete the task four times. They had to memorise the order of the words shown on the slides.
  • Participants were then given a 15-minute break during which they had to do another random interference task. After this break, they had to recall the order of the words (all participants took part in this test).

Baddeley 1966 Results

This study showed that:

Level 1 IV: Acoustic

  • The control group had a higher accuracy percentage between the first and third trials.
  • The experimental group achieved better results in the fourth trial.
  • The experimental group performed better in the forgetting test.

Level 2 IV: Semantic

  • Both the experimental and control group remembered more accurately throughout the trials.
  • The semantically similar group recalled the order of the words more accurately than the control group.
  • Overall, the semantically similar group recalled the order of the words the most accurately (also when considering level 1 IV).

Level 3 IV

  • The acoustically similar group performed better than the control group. However, this difference was not significant.
  • The semantically similar group performed better than the control group.
  • The semantically similar group performed better than the acoustically similar group.

Conclusion: The long-term memory store encodes information semantically. The long-term memory store may be able to encode information acoustically. But, this information will have less accurate recall than information encoded semantically.

Baddeley 1966 Strengths and Weaknesses

Let's consider the strengths and weaknesses of Baddeley's 1966b study.

Baddeley 1966 Strengths

The strengths of the study are:

  • It was standardised and can easily be replicated. Therefore, we can consider the research to have high reliability.
  • Baddeley used interference tasks and set up the study to increase the likelihood of measuring long-term memories. This increases the internal validity of the findings.
  • It was applied to research, which Baddeley and Hitch used as supporting evidence for the proposal of the working memory model in 1974. This model explained how the short-term memory store is organised.
  • It has beneficial implications for real-life scenarios (for instance, students can use these findings to strategise their revision techniques better).

Baddeley 1966 Weaknesses

The weaknesses of the study are:

  • It was carried out on British students, which makes it ethnocentric. Therefore the research does not consider cross-cultural differences and limits the generalisability of the findings.
  • Although the sample comprised 72 people, about 15-20 people were in each condition (levels 1 and 2 IV). This is not representative of the population and limits the generalisability of the findings.
  • The study has low ecological validity; it is unlikely that the procedure is used in everyday life.

Baddeley - Key takeaways

  • The research aimed to see whether semantically or acoustically similar words could be stored better in long-term memory.
  • Participants were allocated into control and experimental groups and asked to recall the order of words.
  • The study found that:
    • The long-term memory store encodes information semantically.
    • The long-term memory store may be able to encode information acoustically. However, this information will have less accurate recall than information encoded semantically.
  • The strengths of the study are that it has high reliability and internal validity and research theories applications.
  • The weaknesses of the study are that it is ethnocentric, non-generalisable, and has low ecological validity.

Frequently Asked Questions about Baddeley

Baddeley studied the storage of semantically and acoustically similar words, to identify if they affect the storage and retention in long-term and short-term memory. 

Baddeley performed an experiment to understand if short-term memory and long-term memory are affected by acoustically and semantically similar words. He had 72 participants perform multiple trials to test their memory using words that sounded similar and dissimilar, and words that were semantically similar and dissimilar, before asking participants to recall the words after a delay for the final trial. 

Baddeley's research was standardised and thus easily replicated, so has high reliability. It has high internal validity, and has a strong evidence-based research background. 


However, it is ethnocentric, is not representative of the population and has low generalizability as a result, and low ecological validity.

The research aimed to investigate which words could be stored better in long-term and short-term memory: semantically or acoustically similar words.

Baddeley found that, for trials involving immediate recall:


  • Level 1 IV - Acoustic: The control group had a higher accuracy percentage between the first and third trials. The experimental group performed better in the forgetting test. 
  • Level 2 IV - Semantic: Both the experimental and control group remembered more accurately throughout the trials. The semantically similar group recalled the order of the words more accurately than the control group. Overall, the semantically similar group recalled the order of the words the most accurately (also when considering level 1 IV).

Final Baddeley Quiz

Question

What was the aim of the Baddeley 1966b research? 

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Answer

The aim of the research was to see if semantic or acoustic similar words could be remembered better in the long-term memory store. 

Show question

Question

Which of the following best describes how information is encoded in the short-term memory store?

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Answer

Acoustic

Show question

Question

Which of the following best describes how information is encoded in the long-term memory store?


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Answer

Semantic

Show question

Question

What was the reason that Baddelley used interference tasks in his experiment?

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Answer

The purpose of the interference task was to make sure that memory recall was based on the long-term rather than the short-term memory store. 

Show question

Question

What did Baddeley conclude from his research?

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Answer

Baddeley 1966b concluded:

  • The long-term memory store encodes information semantically.
  •  The long-term memory store may be able to encode information acoustically. 
    • But, this information will have less accurate recall than information encoded semantically. 

Show question

Question

Which group performed the best in the forgetting test? 

Show answer

Answer

Acoustically similar

Show question

Question

In the first to third trial did the acoustically similar or acoustically dissimilar group have a higher accuracy percentage?

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Answer

Acoustically similar 

Show question

Question

Which group had higher accuracy? 

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Answer

Semantically similar 

Show question

Question

What are the strengths of the study? 

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Answer

The strengths of Baddeley 1966b are:

  •  high reliability
  • high internal validity
  • applications for future research carried out by Baddeley and Hitch

Show question

Question

What are the weaknesses of the study? 

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Answer

The weaknesses of Baddeley 1966b are: 

  • ethnocentric
  • non-generalisable
  • low ecological validity.

Show question

Question

How many and how was the sample collected? 

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Answer

72 men and women students were recruited using an opportunity sample. 

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Question

Which of the following was what Baddeley (1966b) measuring?

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Answer

Accuracy when recalling words

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Question

Which group would have been tested with the following words "Small, Whole, Eat, Dog"?

Show answer

Answer

Semantically dissimilar group

Show question

Question

Which group would have been tested with the following words "Cat, Pat, Fat, Hat"?


Show answer

Answer

Acoustically similar words 

Show question

Question

What did the forgetting test involve? 

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Answer

Participants were tested on the first two levels of the IV for four trials. After this participants were then given a 15-minute break (did an interference test during this). After this break, all of the participants had to recall the order of the words.

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