Highlighting V. Writing
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
Home |
The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
HUMPHREY, A. B. (2006). Highlighting V. Writing. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 9. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved December 11, 2017 .

Highlighting V. Writing
ALESHA B. HUMPHREY
MISSOURI WESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
How well do people remember? What is the best way to remember information? The results of this study could help answer these two questions. Everyone wants to be able to remember things. Students often stress over studying for a test. The purpose of this study is to determine which rehearsal method; highlighting words or writing them down while you study them, increases the recollection of the words. It is hypothesized that writing the words down while studying them would produce the highest number of words recalled. The results of this study suggest that it is easier to remember information if you write it down while studying it.

INTRODUCTION
When a person thinks of rehearsal, they think of learning something and remembering it. For example, if you rehearse your lines for a play, rehearse songs or music or rehearse information for a quiz or test you plan to remember it. But just because you rehearse something does not mean that you will remember it. Goldstein (2005) says that maintenance rehearsal does not transfer information to your long term memory storage. If you repeat a phone number until you dial it, do you still remember it afterwards? A better rehearsal method for long term memory suggested by Goldstein is elaborative rehearsal. This occurs when you think about meanings of items and you make connections between them. For this study subjects will be using elaborate rehearsal to try and recall as many words as possible after about one minute of distractions. What can help a person remember better? First, what is memory? For this study memory is simply the recalling of words. There is a difference between remembering and knowing. Gardiner, Gawlik, and Richardson-Klavehn (1994) suggest that remembering indicates recollection of a test item’s prior occurrence in an experiment. Knowing indicates that subjects believe the test item was in an experiment because of familiarity with the context, but do not recollect the items occurrence. This shows that this study is rightly determining the memory of its subjects. This study will look at two different rehearsal methods; highlighting v. writing. Worley and Moore (2001) suggest that presenting the subjects with images that have contrasting colors increases figure-ground separation, which may help learning. The way I interpreted this information is that figure-ground separation causes our attention and focus on the item to increase, which could help us remember the item better. From my personal experience, the more I write information the better I remember it. According to Einstein, Morris, & Smith (1985) the major point of the encoding function hypothesis is that taking notes can help you learn better and benefit your memory. Comparing note-taking with listening to a lecture or just reading information, suggests that note-taking could cause more focus and attention to the information. It could create a more elaborate processing of the information, more processing of our own ideas associated with the information and better organization of the information. The independent variable for this study is the rehearsal method. There are three levels which are; no rehearsal (the control), rehearsal by highlighting and rehearsal by writing words. There is one dependent variable and that is memory. To be exact, it will be the number of words a subject can recall. The purpose of this study is to determine which rehearsal method; highlighting words or writing words down while you study them, increases the recollection of the words. The hypothesis is that writing words down while studying them will produce the greatest amount of words recalled.


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
Data were collected from 107 undergraduate subjects enrolled in introductory psychology classes at Missouri Western State University.

MATERIALS
A packet containing three items was given to three different groups of subjects. The first page of group one’s packet was a page of instructions. Group two’s first page was a page of instructions and a list of 30 words. Group three’s first page was a page of instructions and a list of 20 numbered blank spaces. The first pages of these packets can be seen in Appendixes A, B, and C. The second and third page was the same for all three groups. The second page is a distracter task and the third page is a numbered list of 20 spaces. The second and third pages can be seen in Appendix D. The word list was generated from http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx. The list duplicated the word bite by mistake. A copy of the word list can be seen in Appendix E. Six of the subjects’ packets were thrown out before they were scored. Four of them were thrown out due to not following the highlighting directions (they did not highlight the words according to the specific directions) and two were thrown out due to a firm suspicion of cheating from the previous pages of their packet.

PROCEDURE
Each subject was handed a packet, told to follow the directions on the packet and once they are finished with a section not to look back in the packet for any reason. Group one had no rehearsal method. They studied the list of words on the screen for 60 seconds and then they heard a chime to turn the page. Group two was the highlighting group. They studied the words on the screen and highlighted them on their word list simultaneously. They had 60 seconds to do so and then heard a chime to turn the page. Group three was the writing group. They studied the words on the screen and wrote them down on their list simultaneously. They also had 60 seconds to do so and then heard a chime to turn the page. All three groups did the same for page two and three of their packets. On page 2, the distracter task, the subjects filled out some personal information about themselves. The subjects used page three to recall their words.


RESULTS
A one way between groups ANOVA was conducted to examine the effects of rehearsal methods on memory. A significant difference was found F(2,98)=3.329,p<.05. Group one and group two had about the same number of words recalled. Group one had a mean score of 5.06 and group two had a mean score of 5.00. Group three was larger than the other two with a mean score of 6.94.


DISCUSSION
The results of this study suggest that writing the words down while studying them produces the greatest number of recalled words. In other words, group three (the writers) recalled the most words and the hypothesis failed to be rejected. I realized that when I study for a test or am listening to a lecture I learn better when I write down the important things. Obviously, more attention was paid to the words in group three than in any other group. This was consistent with Einstein, Morris, and Smith (1985) when they stated the major point of the encoding function hypothesis. The subjects could have associated their own ideas with the words and organized them better, which is usually what happens when writing things down. The highlighting could have produced figure-ground separation, as suggested by Worley and Moore (2001). If figure-ground separation was achieved it did not help them focus on the words enough.There could have been some limitations on the study. I conducted this study in two classes. The first class was at 9:30 a.m. and the second was at 12:30 p.m. Maybe some subjects do not remember as well in the morning or maybe they slept late and did not have enough time to wake up enough. Another limitation could have been that this study was given to introductory psychology students who received extra credit for completing it. These subjects might not have given 100 percent effort towards their memory tests.I do think that this study is generalizable. I think that since most college students worry about remembering things for a test or homework that college students were a good choice for subjects. Even testing the introductory courses was a good idea because most of the students were freshman. Freshman should be interested in the area because they need to figure out the best way to study and the results from this study will give them a good idea on how to do it.If future studies are conducted on this subject high school students should be used as subjects. The exact same experiment could be done on two classes, or even more than two, classes but the times that the classes meet could be the same to see if the time of day confounded the study. The time limit for studying and recalling the words could also be altered. Even different methods for presenting the experiment to the highlighting and writing groups could be produced. Altering the time, methods of presentation and the ages of the subjects could possibly change the outcome of this study.


REFERENCES
Einstein, G.O., Morris, J., & Smith, S. (1985). Note-taking, individual differences, and memory for lecture information. Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 522-532.Gardiner, J.M., Gawlik, B., & Richardson-Klavehn, A. (1994). Maintenance rehearsal affects knowing, not remembering; elaborative rehearsal affects remembering, not knowing. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1, 107-110.Goldstein, E.B. (2005). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.Worley, G.M., & Moore, D.M. (2001). The effects of highlight color on immediate recall on subjects of different learning styles. International Journal of Instructional Media, 28, 169-183.

APPENDIX A
Group 1 PacketA list of 20 words will appear on the projector when you hear the chime and you will have 60 seconds to study the words and after 60 seconds the words will disappear. When the words are gone and you hear another chime, turn the page and begin answering questions on page two. Once you turn a page you can not look back to previous pages.GET READY FOR THE CHIME

APPENDIX B
Group 2 PacketA list of 20 words will appear on the projector. When you hear the chime you will have 60 seconds to study the words and highlight the words you see on the projector in the following list of words. After 60 seconds the words will disappear. When the words are gone and you hear another chime, turn the page and begin answering questions on page two. Once you turn a page you can not look back to previous pages.GET READY FOR THE CHIME1. Atom 16. Cup 2. Fish 17. See3. Bid 18. Walk4. Hat 19. Bite5. Want 20. Cent6. Top 21. Role7. Scan 22. Now8. Due 23. Art9. Trip 24. Rise10. Help 25. West11. Band 26. Inch12. Desk 27. Fun13. Boot 28. Miss14. Vice 29. Bite15. Sake 30. Vote

APPENDIX C
Group 3 PacketA list of 20 words will appear on the projector. When you hear the chime you will have 60 seconds to study the words and write them down in the provided spaces below. After 60 seconds the words will disappear. When the words are gone and you hear another chime, turn the page and begin answering questions on page two. Once you turn a page you can not look back to previous pages.GET READY FOR THE CHIME1. _____________ 11. _____________2. _____________ 12. _____________3. _____________ 13. _____________4. _____________ 14. _____________5. _____________ 15. _____________6. _____________ 16. _____________7. _____________ 17. _____________8. _____________ 18. _____________9. _____________ 19. _____________10. _____________ 20. _____________

APPENDIX D
Personal InformationPlease answer all questions as truthfully as possible. You will have 60 seconds to fill in the answers. When you hear the next chime, turn the page and follow instructions on page three. After you turn a page you may not look to the previous pages.1. Gender: M / F2. Age: _____3. Grade: Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior4 Hours this semester: _____ 5. Estimated GPA: _____ 6. True eye color: _____7. Height: _____8. True hair color: _____

When you hear the next chime you will have 60 seconds to recall as many of the 20 words that you studied. When you are finished or when you hear the chime, whichever comes first, close the packet and turn it over and wait for me to collect them.1. _____________ 11. _____________2. _____________ 12. _____________3. _____________ 13. _____________4. _____________ 14. _____________5. _____________ 15. _____________6. _____________ 16. _____________7. _____________ 17. _____________8. _____________ 18. _____________9. _____________ 19. _____________10. ____________ 20. _____________

APPENDIX E
Word ListAtomBidWantTopScanTripHelpBandBootSakeSeeWalkBiteRoleArtWestInchFunBite Vote


Figure

Submitted 12/7/2006 12:40:23 PM
Last Edited 12/7/2006 1:06:03 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

Rated by 0 users. Users who logon can rate manuscripts and write reviews.

© 2017 National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse. All rights reserved. The National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse is not responsible for the content posted on this site. If you discover material that violates copyright law, please notify the administrator. This site receives money through the Google AdSense program when users are directed to useful commercial sites. We do not encourage or condone clicking on the displayed ads unless you have a legitimate interest in the advertisement.