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Fredric Bartlett (1932)
Transcript of Fredric Bartlett (1932)
All of the people that helped him with his experiment were made to read a folk tale called 'The War of the Ghosts'. it came from a different culture as it was a North American Indian folk tale. It was bizarre, deliberately. It had ideas and names that were unfamiliar to the people.
The serial reproduction task:
In the serial reproduction task, the first person in a series read 'The War of the Ghosts' to themselves at a normal speed. Then they waited 15-30 minutes before telling the story to the other person in the series. This was done with several participants.
The repeated reproduction task:
Each person was tested separately. They read the story twice to themselves at their normal reading speed. After 15 minutes, the person gave their first reproduction. They could not look at the story. Later reproductions were done at different intervals for different people (e.g. 20hours, 8 days, 6 months or 10 years). They could not look at their previous reproductions. The participants assumed it was a test of the accuracy of recall as they did not know the aim of the study.
Both the repeated and serial reproduction tasks were done many times. This helped to show that the changes to the story followed the same patterns.
Other stories were also used in serial reproductions. This showed that the changes weren't just special to 'The War of the Ghosts'.
By choosing unfamiliar material, Bartlett could not be sure that the changes he found would happen with familiar information.
Bartlett did not always test the repeated reproduction participants after the same time intervals, so the changes over time cannot be compared fairly.
Fredric Bartlett (1932)
Schemas and remembering stories
Bartlett's aim was to investigate how information changes with each reproduction and to find out why the information changes.
He used a technique like the 'Chinese whispers game', called serial reproduction. A piece of information passed from one person to another to the next in a 'series'.
He also used repeated reproduction. In 'repeated reproduction', a person is given information to read. It is then taken away and they are asked to remember it and say it aloud.
Very few of the participants recalled the story accurately. Bartlett analysed the changes in the story and found patterns in the errors.
Form: Once a story has a particular outline it sticks, e.g. the order of events.
Details: Information such as names and numbers are lots. If remembered, they become stereotyped. Over a very long period of time they are remembered if they match the participants interests or expectations.
Simplification Events are made less complex. Details are left out or made more familiar. this can change the meaning of the story e.g. the idea of 'ghosts was often lost.
Addition: Inaccurate details are put in, e.g. to the building of a fire, one person added 'probably to cook his breakfast'.
Unfamiliar material changes when it is recalled. it becomes shorter, simpler and more stereotyped. This may be due to the effect of schema on memory.