Developmental Psychology Research Designs
PSY 307 Adulthood and Aging
Memory and Aging
The brain physically shrinks and operates slower as we get older. “The memory
function is affected, and this is where all types of information is processed” (Mohs, 2007).
Most affected is the ability to recall events of the recent past by individuals. “If encoding fails or
is ineffective then definitely, the information cannot be stored nor extracted for use when
needed”(Cavanaugh, & Blanchard-Fields, 2009). The most affected is the encoding of
information which is the first step of memorization. My study is going to show this evidence.
The functioning of the memory goes hand in hand with aging. Studies have been done
several times to show this. “Application of different simulations and tasks to various age groups
in various circumstances as well as various states of mind have proven this” (Hess, 2005).
“This includes areas that are stress free, pressure zones and environments where the brain is
excited or positive anticipation is created in the targets of study” (Hess, 2005). “Findings have
been suggestive in confirming reliability and effectiveness of the system that processes the given
information” (Hess, 2005). “This article examines the truth in perspective of the context used to
characterize the correlation between aging and memorization by reviewing previous researches”
(Hess, 2005). “The studies dwell on performance in memory and the
conclusion is that more approaches that are multidimensional need to be applied in the concept
of memory and aging” (Hess, 2005).
My objective is to have two categories of age groups. This will consist of 15 people
above 60 and the other fifteen people will be below 50. “The purpose of having a 10 year gap
between the two categories is to allow a significant difference of physical size of the brain and
memory activity”(Whitbourne, & Whitbourne, 2011). “This way it will help to separate the
exceptions that may happen to freely fit in either category” (Whitbourne, & Whitbourne, 2011).
“I expect to test the memory of the two sets of people in terms of word stem completion/ indirect
and free recall/ direct aspects” (Whitbourne, & Whitbourne, 2011).
The younger age group will perform better than the older age group in the free recall
exercise. The scores will be more or less the same in the word stem completion test.
It is factual that older people can have better memorization of facts stored long ago in the brain
rather than recent information.
I plan to use different age groups that will not have any common interest but will
have somewhat of the same education background, so in this case I believe that the cross-
sectional research design is the best method. They will be selected from the same area that
they they reside in so their social interactions will be closely related. Their interpretations of
words will not vary in my experiment. The two categories of people have to be from the same
area and must have at least graduated from high school.
Both categories of people will be in the same classroom separated by rows. There will
be a list of 25 words shown on the whiteboard one at a time by a projector. The words will be
shown for 5 seconds. The words will only be six letters long. They will not be words that are
similar to each other. The reason for this is so it will lessen the confusion by the older category.
The short length of the words is to sustain the concentration span of the two sets. I am assuming
that the participants do not have any eyesight issues. The participants will be asked to write
down as many of the words that they can remember. They do not have to be in the order that
they were shown. The free recall session is formed. The measure will be an accumulation of the
correct answers by both sets then a mean score will be used to tally the results.
Indirect testing will then follow after a break of 10 minutes. The word stems will be
related to the original 25 words. The stems had the first three letters of each word from the first
test. Each participant will be examined one by one in this time round. The examiner is the one
who puts down the notes in form of marking if correct or wrong. The extra measure in
examination is due to the fact that the two sets of participants are expected to perform similarly
in this exercise. There will be new words shown on the whiteboard by projector one more time,
and it will not last more than 5 seconds. The participants will be asked to complete each of the
presented word stems with the first words that they think of after the second screening.
“Memory fades as we grow older especially the short-term memorization because the
information presented often occurs at a faster rate than the encoding process” (Hess, 2005).
“Just as my experiment shows if it is retaken frequently, the direct testing score is expected to
improve because repeated sessions tend to exercise the brain and familiarize it with the speed
required to encode” (Hess, 2005). If the same participants retake the test over a period of time,
the gap in the direct testing will narrow because the memory is now frequently exercised.
Any change in the edges of the analysis is sure to yield the same results as the first trial.
Cavanaugh, J. & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2009). Adult development and aging. Australia; Belmont,
CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Hess, T. M. (2005). Memory and aging in context. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 383–406.
Mohs, Richard C.. “How Human Memory Works” 08 May 2007. HowStuffWorks.com.
memory.htm> 28 October 2015. Whitbourne, S. & Whitbourne, B. (2011). Adult development and aging: biopsychosocial perspectives. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
memory.htm> 28 October 2015.
Whitbourne, S. & Whitbourne, B. (2011). Adult development and aging: biopsychosocial
perspectives. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.