Date of Award
Master of Science
Psychology; Human Computer Interaction
Veronica J. Dark
Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of having access to external memory storage on what students encode in internal memory. The accessibility of external information makes it very easy to get to without having to exert a lot of mental effort. I investigated how typing and saving notes about facts on a computer would impact internal memory if participants knew they would have access to their notes when tested on the facts. In Experiment 1 participants heard trivia facts and took notes on each one, which they saved to one of six folders. Half of the participants were told they would be able to access the folders during the test while the other half were told they would not. At test, participants were asked if they recognized a fact as one they had studied and into which folder they had saved notes about that fact. Although no participants actually were given access to their notes during the recognition test, fact memory was close to ceiling for both groups and was higher than folder memory, with no differences between access groups. Experiment 2 included easy and difficult facts and participants were given a cued recall test on both the facts and the folders. Access condition had no effect, but cued recall was higher for easy facts, and more folders were recalled than facts when the facts were hard. Performance also depended on the quality of notes that participants had taken, with higher quality notes for easier facts. Further investigation is needed to determine how information is prioritized for encoding internally when it is also available externally.
Slavina, Anna, "Does access to external storage lead to less emphasis on learning?" (2016). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15811.