Short Term Memory And Time Constraint

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An experiment to investigate that the time constraint will negatively impact participants’ ability to memorize and recall word lists.

Yi Tsam Mary Kong
David Fontaine
Pargol Hamidi
Michaela Krauss
Hernan Ochoa
Anita Schmalor
University of British Columbia

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Yi Tsam Mary Kong,
Psychology Department, The University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver,
British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Email

Short-term memory (STM) is the ability to memorize information in a relatively short period of time. The purpose of this experiment is to investigate that how the pressure of a time constraint will affect the subjects’ ability to memorize and recall word list. In this study, there are two groups, one is the control group, and the other is experimental group. Participants are randomly assigned to different group by flipping the coin. Researchers asked participants to memorize a list of words in one minute, and when the time was up, they were told to recall words from the word lists by writing down on a piece of paper. There were two conditions in this experiment that were perceived time limit and unawareness of the time limit. Both groups recalled around 30 percent of the total words, so there was just a little difference in performance between two groups. The researchers were convinced that the pressure of a time limit affect participants’ ability to memorize and recall the words. On the other hand, they realized that the time constraint did not impact participants’ short-term memory to recall the words. The hypothesis was not supported for this experiment. Therefore...

... middle of paper ...

...y? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 724-734.
Sharma, D., & Mckenna, F. (2001). The role of time pressure on the emotional Stroop task. British Journal of Psychology, 471-481.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Means of words memorized for control group (n=8) and experimental group (n=13)

Table 1

Group N=Sample size Mean

Median Mode
Control 8 8.38 8.5 10
Experimental 13 8.77 8 6

Table 1. The sample size, mean, median, and mode of control and experimental groups.

Figure 2.

Figure 2. Histogram of the control and experimental groups

Word list:
airport error climate love kitchen island calendar pen plane actor friend medicine shower uncle dish elevator insect field secret hole mall bag cigarette

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