Spread of activation deals with information traveling through many paths and networks. For example, "book", is connected to the concept of "read". Thus, when the word "book" is presented to the subject, not only will that concept become active, but activation should spread to the concepts surrounding "book," so that terms such as "read" become active as well. Refering to words such as Orthographic (words spelled alike only differing in one letter) there is little spread of activation taking place. Chiarello (1985) compared Phonological words (words that sound alike, yet spelled quit different) to orthographic words to see which was easier to detect. Data showed that subjects responded quicker to orthographic words than that of phonological words. In Meyer and Schvaneveldt's experiment (1971), subjects were presented two strings of words. They consisted of either nonassociated words or nonwords and associated words. Meyer found that when a nonword was paired with another nonword response times were faster than all other paired words. There are a few questions that need to be answered: What effect does motivation have on performance? Does motivation speed up response times? Too, how does orthographic words compare to associated words?
This experiment consisted of 18 males and 12 females ages ranging from 18 to 23. Stimuli consisted of four sets of words (40 group) consisting of associated words (chalk-board), orthographic words (bear-beak ), nonwords (floppy- methox), non associated words (magazine -brick). Instruction was then given by the observer. The unmotivated group instructions were, "Two words will appear on the screen if they are both words press W, if one is not a word press N for not word. Be as quick and as accurate as possible." Instructions differed for the motivated group; subjects received a blow pop provided the response times were accurate and quick. Their instructions were , "Two words will appear on the screen, if they are both words press W for word, if one is not a word press N for not word. Depending on how well you do, you may earn a prize. The means were calculated and compared to each other.
We found that unmotivated subjects had a quicker response time than motivated subjects. Also, orthographic words had a similiar response time to that of associated words. Though, the case was not the same with nonwords and nonassociated words. Perhaps the motivation was not strong enough. Could an individual be putting to much pressure on themselves? We are not sure, but it is a question that has yet to be pondered. We learned that motivation in many cases plays a different role than expected. A way in which to make this experiment better would be to elevate the motivation. Maybe the individuals didn't like blow pops.
Chiarello, Christine. 1985. Hemisphere dynamic in lexical access: Automatic and controlled priming. Brain and Language 26146-172
Meyer, D.E. Schvaneveldt, R.W. 1971. Facilitation in recognizing pairs of words: evidence of a dependence on retrieval operations. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 90 227-234SuperLab, 1989-1991, Cedrus Corp. More Posters
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