Effect Of Sleep On Memory Essay, Research Paper
Effect of Sleep on Memory
This article is from The Journal of Experimental Psychology, and was written on an experiment performed by psychologist Bruce R. Ekstrand, from the University of Colorado. He experimented on the effects that sleep has on one’s memory, after learning a particular bit of knowledge, in this case a certain list of twelve three-letter words.
There were several different ways Ekstrand went about discovering whether sleep would facilitate memory or not. Out of the entire group of people who he experimented on, some of them were given nothing but a simple list to memorize, some were given a pro-active interfering list, and some were given a retroactive interfering list. For his core measurement method, he used a 3×2 factorial chart. In this factorial were the three types of interference learning he used- retroactive, pro-active, and no interference. The factorial’s two-part were the levels of sleep that those who were experimented on got – either eight hours of sleep, or none.
The participants would have to learn these certain lists and associations with the lists, and perhaps pro-active or retroactive learning if they were assigned to that particular group. Half of the participants, chosen at random, would then sleep in the laboratory for approximately eight hours before being awakened in the morning, being urged to fall asleep as soon as they could, and with the average time it takes on to fall asleep being taken into account. Those who had to stay awake would leave for eight hours and return. Both groups would assure that no rehearsing had been done, and they would then have to recall the lists and associations. In most of the rehearsals for testing, sleep proved to facilitate recall better than staying awake did. However, the facilitation was not incredibly significant. In some of the pro-active and retroactive cases, sleep did not actually facilitate memory at all—both sleeping and awake people tested equally.
I chose this particular article because I wanted to use its results to my benefit. I am always looking for ways to better prepare myself for tests, and better strategies for studying, both to learn more at one time, and to cut down on my entire studying time. Furthermore, I absolutely love to sleep, so I was hoping I could use this article as an excuse to sleep more, or as my rationale for sleeping often, assuming that I would study and then go to sleep. Some other articles I browsed through did not seem as interesting as this one, and I figured since this article was both interesting and helpful to me specifically, I would choose this one to write about.
I have to admit that this article was a bit hard to comprehend, and quite hard to follow. I did manage to eventually understand most of it, but some of it was just impossible to grasp. Some of the language and terms used in this article are ones that I would have no way of knowing yet, based on my knowledge from psychology class. The writer used many abbreviations and symbols for certain procedures and items involved in the experiment, which made his sentences hard to follow at times. However, from eventually being able to understand it all, this article proved to be useful to me. I will definitely try to study more in the future, and then get to sleep right afterward. As I mentioned earlier, I am always looking for ways to improve my study habits and knowledge acquired from studying, and this article helped me with this quest.
As a result of my reading, I learned that there is a good chance that sleeping after studying something will help me to remember it. I learned that I may need to change my study habits a little, to give myself more time to sleep after studying!
This article did relate to in class material. It related specifically to the chapter we studied on memory. I could better understand this article because I had learned about memory, mainly about pro-active and retroactive inhibition. I believe some of the chapter discussed certain ways of learning and remembering, and this article definitely pertained to that topic. Overall, I would say I benefited from this article, and am glad I chose this one to write about.