Evaluate Godden & Baddeley’s (1975) Study Into Forgetting.

Describe and Evaluate Godden & Baddeley’s (1975) study into forgetting. (12 marks)

Godden & Baddeley carried out a field study into how memory can be affected by the cognitive environment in which a memory is first encoded. The aim of their study was to investigate how the physical context of the encoding environment can affect the subsequent recall of memory.

The study was carried out in Oban, Scotland using a sample of 18 student divers from a university diving club. The divers memories were to be tested using a basic memory test of random unrelated 2-3 syllable words from a list of 38 words.
G&B used a Repeated Measures Design; where each of the 18 divers would be taking part in all four conditions of the independent variable. Each diver would carry out the following conditions. 1. Encode in a ‘wet’ environment, recall in a ‘dry’ environment. 2. Encode in a ‘dry’ environment, recall in a ‘dry’ environment. These first two conditions were referred to as context-cued conditions, as the context was kept identical between the encoding and recall of the original memory. The last two conditions had no context cues between encoding and recall: 3. Encode ‘dry’, recall ‘wet’. 4. Encode ‘wet’ and recall ‘dry’.

When in the ‘wet’ condition divers were submerged (20 feet below) using a diving underwater communication system so they could hear the words for memorising. While in the ‘dry’ condition divers were to be at the waters edge, with the diving equipment removed. This was to ensure that there was a significant contrast between the two contexts being used.

G&B found that recall was strongest within the context-cued conditions, in particular the ‘dry’/ ‘dry’ condition, where there was a high average recall of 13.5. This is significantly higher when compared to the score of the non context-cued condition score of 8.5 for the ‘wet’/ ‘dry’ condition.
G&B concluded that this supports the cue-dependent theory of forgetting, which states that...