Generate a Test:
An abundance of research has demonstrated that the most effective method of studying for the long-term retention of material is by self-testing. This ‘testing effect’ has been replicated many times in experimental settings, but in practice, students typically choose the less effective technique of re-reading material. However, the majority of the research surrounding the ‘testing effect’ is based on retention of written material. Written material typically pertains to content studied outside of class, however information is expected to be learned within the classroom as well. One of the most popular teaching techniques today is the use of video segments to supplement traditional instruction. With the nearly limitless amount of information available via the Internet from sources like YouTube or TED.com, almost any topic can be found in video form. Presenting material though video has the advantage of giving students a rich context that is not possible through traditional instruction. However, videos are not always readily available to students for studying and they are often held accountable for the content on a later exam. Previous research has already replicated the testing effect with video material in both recognition and recall. The focus of the present research is to extend the results of the generation effect to material presented in video form.
Attention and Bejeweled Blitz:
The purpose of this study is to explore if casual games such as Bejeweled Blitz! can enhance the distribution of attention in a subsequent visual search task. Despite anecdotal evidence of this effect, there is little empirical evidence to support this claim. There is evidence that casual video game playing can improve mood and reduce stress. Bejeweled Blitz! gives players one minute to search a 8x8 array of colored shapes (“gems”) for particular patterns and forming as many sets of three in a row as possible. The one-minute limit makes it possible to have a consistent “trial” in an experimental context. Higher scores result from efficient search for appropriate patterns of the colored shapes. The current research aims to show if playing a similar casual video game can cause a benefit to attention.
Principle investigator: Erica Garguilo
Release from Proactive Interference:
An interesting phenomenon was discovered nearly a half century ago where you are presented with a series of items that all belong to the same category (e.g., fruits). When asked to remember these items, performance gradually declines with more items that are needed to be remembered. This is known as proactive interference because the previous items interfere with the new items to be remembered. However, if the category of the items changes (i.e., from fruit to professions), there is a corresponding increase in memory. Researchers have termed this ‘release from proactive interference’. The purpose of this project is to investigate if a similar ‘release from PI’ can be achieved when the participant thinks the category has changed when in fact there is no change at all.
Principle investigator: Joseph LaTorre