Cognition Laboratory Experiments

John H. Krantz, Hanover College, krantzj@hanover.edu

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Hanover College
Psychology Department

Instructions for the
False Memory Experiment

In this experiment, you will get the opportunity to experience a common memory error.  At this point, the experiment is in a draft form.  You will be presented a list of words to recall.  At the end of the list of words, you will then be asked to recognize the words in the midst of a list of distracters.  The distracters will be of two types, regular distracters and a distracter that is related semantically, linguistically, or conceptually to all of the words on the list.  The experiment will be most interested in which type of distracter you recall the most. 

When you click on the link below, you will be presented with the experiment setup screen.  On this screen will be the variables you can set to define your particular experimental condition.  Here is a list of the variables and their settings

Variable Settings
Type of Memory Task You can run the experiment with either words or pictures.
Length of Recognition List The number of items in each list.  (From 5 to 11 pictures or 15 words).
Number of Trial Blocks The number of times to do the memory task. (2 to 6 lists)
Duration of each Item The time which each item is presented (1 to 30 seconds)
Time for Recognition Time for the recognition task (5 to 120 seconds)
Number of Items Shown During Recognition The length of the recognition list.  Must be even number of items.  (1/2 of the list will be the items will be from the initial list, 1/2-1 will be normal distracters, 1 will be the themed distracter)  (6 to 20 words)
Number of Items Allowed to Pick During Recognition Number of items the person can select as seen during the initial presentation.  (4 to 20 words)
Font Size The size of the letters that are presented (from 12 to 64 point)
Duration of Fixation Target before Block The time there is a fixation marker over the location of the mathematical problem at the beginning of each block (0 to 20 sec)
Relative Position of the word Can place the words in different position in the top region of the screen.  The 0.5 position is in the center
Delay between Responses During recognition, you can add a delay between being able to make one choice and the next. 

After you have finished making your settings, press the Done button at the bottom of the screen.  The Working Memory experiment screen will then be presented.  A start bar will be at the top of the screen at every trial and instructions will be in the center of the screen. 

Press the space bar to begin the experiment.  At the end of the block, the words presented with an equal number of distracters will be presented at the top of the screen in buttons.  Click on the buttons of the words you recognize.  When you click the word it will fade. 

At the end of the experiment your results will be presented.  This will be the percentage of the initial word list shown during recognition that you selected, the percentage of normal distracters that you selected and the percentage of the themed distracters that you selected. This is a draft experiment so expect modifications, but they will be coming slowly.

Click here to start the experiment.

References: