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The Effect of Medium of Information on Short-Term Memory Recall.By Jacob Grimm and Jonathan Lopez ABSTRACT          This study examined the effects of mediums of information on short term memory recall. The studies purpose was to find correlation between blue light computers and short term memory compared to blue light filter computers and printed information. Subjects(n=5) were given one of the mediums of information to memorize for 60 seconds and then were told to match random statements to corresponding numbers. The results demonstrated that subjects scored the highest on the printed medium and the lowest on the no filter computer, though the results were not significant (p>0.50).INTRODUCTIONFor what much of students do in school, memorization plays a massive role in the learning process.  In many schools, students’ grades are heavily reliant on how well they can memorize information. Many students struggle with remembering information in the long term (Gut and Staniszewski, 2016), which can have a negative impact on their test scores and grades. The medium and way information is presented to students is changing to a more computerized memorization method. Textbooks and scholarly articles were the way facts and figures were presented for years, but computers and screens are becoming rapidly more common in classrooms. The goal of this experiment is to test which of these two mediums of information is more efficient in retaining memory. For many students, a major goal in school is memorizing and recalling the information presented to them. Computers are becoming more and more a popular source for studying. This is because the trend of the internet being a utility for knowledge leading to people making study guides for the world to see. Many Schools have not switched over to computers for various reasons, from the cost of the computers, to the effect and strain LED blue lights incur on student’s cognitive functions (Cajochen et al, 2011).  The additional cost of non LED blue light computers turns many schools away from buying computers. Due to the lack of research on how these non-blue LED lights affect cognitive performance, our experiment will include a computer screen with a blue LED light filter as a positive control. Most students are given textbooks to study from, or printed out articles and their sources.  However, as the age of technology and screens progresses, more students are being given information on laptops, phones, etc. Our goal in this experiment is to ascertain if there is a difference between using a computer to study with, or using a book.  We know due to studies that the medium that information is presented will impact how well the information will be remembered in the long term (Balemans et al, 2015).  The experiment will compare how well students memorize and recall information given to the in different mediums and how efficiently they can recite what is presented to them after the fact. If students are presented information on a piece of paper, or textbook, then the student will recall that information better as blue LED lights in many computers has a detrimental effect on how well students perform and remember/recall information (Cajochen et al, 2011) and the filtered computer may bring up possible distractions. Our study is testing how this medium of information affects short term memory recall and we believe that if we use the printed medium of information then subjects will have a higher score compared to getting information from a computer.METHODSA total of 15 subjects (9 male, 6 female, age 14±1) were given a sheet of words to memorize for 60 seconds. The sheet consists of ten 5 letter Unicode words generated on https://makemeapassword.org/Generate/Unicode that were given corresponding numbers. We gave all subjects the same 5 words and number order. Subjects were split into groups of 3 where each person had a different medium of seeing the sheet such as one subject had a printed out copy and the other 2 saw the document on computers with one having a blue light filter software (f.lux) installed. All subjects were told to memorize the sheets and told when time was up. A second sheet was made where the word order and number order(separated into two columns) were randomly generated on www.random.org. Subjects were then placed in separate sections of the room away from the computers and printed paper to prevent cheating. Subjects were given 60 seconds to match (using a pen) the words to their corresponding number. For every correctly matched pair, the subjects received one point. The sum of their correctly matched pairs is considered their score with a maximum score of 10. After the first group of 3 students went, the procedure was repeated until all 15 students did exactly one of the 3 mediums of the sheet once.RESULTSThe effect of medium of information on short-term memory recall was examined by each subject memorizing a list of randomly generated 10 letter Unicode words to corresponding numbers with each group being given the words in a different medium then after a minute, asked to match the words to the corresponding numbers when shuffled. The results in figure 1 show that the group with the printed medium has the highest average matching score while the non-filter group has the lowest. Though this might be true, the results were insignificant since in table 1, all the results have low chances of certainty (all p>.50) therefore the null hypothesis cannot be rejected.Figure 1. Mean of short term memory test scores. Error bars are standard deviation.Table 1. Ttable chart. Compares t tests and p between the 3 groups.TTABLETtest (PvsBF)0.347571Ttest (BFvsNF)0.308607Ttest (NFvsP)0.59976p=(PvsBF)0.738322p= (BFvsNF)0.765613p=(NFvsP)0.568779DISCUSSIONThe goal of this study was to examine the effects of medium of information on short term memory by comparing 3 different mediums of information (printed, typed, and typed with blue filter) using a short-term memory test. The data in figure 1 suggests that printed medium of information had the highest mean short-term memory result while the blue filter medium had a higher average score than the no filter computer average score. Though our hypothesis was supported by the data, it appears that our data was insignificant (p>0.50) because we were missing constants such as pattern recognition ability, time management ability, and attention span. Most of the subjects had similar pattern recognition ability, time management ability, and attention span but we had a few outliers. Our studies results, though insignificant to the reasons above, did correlate to other studies done.  One study found that blue light influences a clock gene in humans (Cajochen et al, 2006). This clock gene might have negatively impacted time management ability on our subjects with no filter. Other possibilities might include the psychomotor effects of blue light (Beaven and Ekström, 2013). It also appears that eBooks perform significantly worse to their book counterparts in memory recall (Subrahmanyam et al, 2013) which correlates to our insignificant data but supports our hypothesis. If we removes an outlier from each group, then all of our comparisons become significant. There is also evidence that some subjects would only memorize the first letter in each word due to the satisfactory question we asked at the end of each group. Notably those with higher scores reported making mnemonic devices when looking at the Unicode words.  The broader significance of our finding is that without certainty, modern mediums of information(such as the internet) are less effective in short-term memory recall compared to book counterparts.Balemans MC, Kooloos JG, Donders AR, and Van der Zee CE. (2015). Actual drawing of historical images improves knowledge retention. Anatomical Sciences Education 9 (1): 60-70Beaven CM, Ekström J. (2013). A Comparison of Blue Light and Caffeine Effects on Cognitive Function and Alertness in Humans. PLoS ONE 8(10):1-7Cajochen C, Frey S, Anders D, Späti J, Bues M, Pross A, Mager R, Wirz-Justice A, Stefani O. (2011). Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Physiology 110(5):1Cajochen C, Jud C, Münch M, Kobialka S, Wirz-Justice A et al. (2006) Evening exposure to blue light stimulates the expression of the clock gene PER2 in humans. Eur J Neurosci 23(6): 1082-1086Phipps-Nelson J, Redman JR, Schlangen LJ, Rajaratnam SM. (2009). Blue light exposure reduces objective measures of sleepiness during prolonged nighttime performance testing. Chronobiol Int. 26(1):891–912Subrahmanyam K, Michikyan M Uhis YT, (2012). Learning from Paper, Learning from Screens: Impact of Screen Reading and Multitasking Conditions on Reading and Writing among College Students. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 3(4); 1-27

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