Serial Position Effect

Serial Position Effect


You are vacationing on the beach with a group of friends. You volunteer to walk to a food stand on the boardwalk to order lunch for everyone. Before you leave, you find yourself repeating each order to make sure you won’t forget any details by the time you reach the stand.

Why is it necessary to repeat these orders before leaving, rather than simply hearing them once and walking away? It’s because you learned in your psychology class that your working memory—the processing system that keeps information available for current use—can only maintain five to nine pieces of information for up to 20 to 30 seconds. You would not remember all the details of the lunch orders by the time you reached the food stand after hearing them just once. So you rehearsed everyone’s orders by repeating them to yourself. This transferred the information into your long-term memory, enabling you to access it when placing the orders a few minutes later.

In the Experience section of this ZAPS lab, your task will be to remember numerous pieces of information, much like the list of lunch orders in the example above. You will see, however, that the order in which the information is presented makes a difference in how well you remember it.


In each trial of this ZAPS lab, you will see 12 words on the screen, one after another. After these words are presented, 12 boxes will appear. Try to remember as many of the 12 words as possible and type them in the boxes. The order in which you fill in the words does not matter, and you can take as much time as you want to type in the words. However, be sure that your final answers do not contain any typing errors. Once you type in all the words you remembered, you can continue to the next trial. There are no practice trials; the experiment starts immediately. In total, you will see five trials with a series of 12 words each.

After viewing each series of words, I must:

· Fill in the words I remember without regard for typing errors.

·  Fill in the words I remember in any order, being careful that I do not make any typing errors.

· Fill in the words I remember in the exact order in which they appeared.


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