Psych M.D. - Serial position effect


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

February 9, 2009

Term: Serial position effect
Definition (Myers): Our tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list.
Definition (alternative): A tendency for the items near the beginning and end of the series to be recalled best, and those in the middle worst, producing a U-shaped serial position curve of recall as a function of serial position. *
Contextual explanation: For example, when memorizing a long list of numbers or any objects, we tend to remember the first and last ones, and other things in the middle. This tendency is serial position effect. The memory fades as the list goes on, so the beginning and last words stick on our minds most clearly and the ones in the middle are likely to fade away.
Related terms and concepts:
memory
spacing effort
automatic processing
effortful processing.
Serial position effect - The Neuron
This graph is taken from the wikipedia, "Graph showing the serial position effect, the vertical axis shows the percentage of words recalled, the horizontal axis shows their position in the sequence." This graph shows the U shape, which indicates that words in the middle are remembered the least, and words in the beginning and the end are remembered the most.

*
you can test the serial position effect yourself by doing the experiments in the above websites. You will find that you can recall words just as the graph shows: can remember beginning and ending words most clearly, and barely remember those in the middle.
Related websites:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhiidrWHtnQ&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JINjMT571E&feature=related
-> Try two of the memory tests in the above websites.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primacy_effect
-> Go for more info.
Edited by: Elaine



More pages