Example a Level Psychology Experiment Essay

Hypothesis – there will be a significant positive relationship between the scores on a memory test and scored on a test to predict your chance of being a millionaire

Null Hypothesis – there will be no significant relationship between scores on a memory test and scores on a test measuring the chances of becoming a millionaire and any relationship is due to chance

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Design – the method of the experiment was a correlational study; this was used in order to see whether there was a relationship between the scores on a memory test and scores on a millionaire test.

The experiment used co variables, which were the score on the memory test and score on the millionaire test. Controls – in order ensure the test was reliable the extraneous variables needed to be controlled. Standardised instructions were used as a control to give all participants the same instructions during the experiment, which meant that the experimenter did not affect the communication of the instructions by changing them for each participant which reduces the amount on experimenter bias.

A further control that was used was using anonymous data by assigning each participant a number to record that data on a table, rather than using individual’s names. Participants – the target population for the experiment were young people in the Gosport area of each gender. The sampling method was an opportunity sample of 10 students aged 17-18 both males and females (2 males and 8 females) at Bay House Sixth Form from an A Level Psychology class and the researcher was a Psychology teacher at Bay House Sixth Form.

Apparatus and Materials – the materials used for the experiment were a list of 34 words created by the researcher that were projected onto the board, paper and pens provided for the participants to record the number of words they remembered, a watch to time the one minute period of remembering and writing down the words, an online questionnaire to measure likelihood of becoming a millionaire at bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/surveys/millionaire1/index.shtml Procedure – the participants were firstly given an explanation of the research and what the study would entail for them.

They were them given the equipment they required to complete the memory test whilst remaining anonymous and were given standardise instructions by the researcher of how to complete the test and the rules of the research. The participants were then shown the list of 34 words to memorise by projecting the list on the board and where given one minute to memorise as many words as possible. The words were then hidden and the researcher projected instructions to the participants to write down all the words they remembered and they were given one minute to do so.

The number of words memorised were recorded by the researcher by assigning each participant with a number and they stated out loud their score. The participants were then asked to move to a computer room to complete an online survey to test their likelihood of becoming a millionaire, after they completed the questionnaire the participants had to record their score next to their memory score on a board. The participants were then debriefed by the researcher. Ethics – there were few ethical issues in the experiment as informed consent was gained by the researcher to ensure the participants were given instructions and the aim of the research.

Therefore, there was no deception in the research and so the integrity of the study was intact during the memory and millionaire tests. Furthermore, all the participants were over 16 and so there was no need for the researcher to obtain parental consent for the study. Participants were also given the right to withdraw before and during the research, therefore the participants were not pressured to take part or complete the study if they were not comfortable with the terms of the research or what the data was being used for. However, there may be ethical issues regarding the wellbeing of the participants during the research as the study may have caused stress or anxiety in the participants when completing the memory or millionaire tests because they may feel the pressure to do well in each test, although the research was anonymous and so this may have reduced the amount of stress caused by the study.

Scatter Graph for Data:

The scatter graph shows that there is a weak negative correlation between memory test scores and millionaire test scores, which means that it does not necessrily prove our hypothesis that there will be a significant postive relationship between the two co variables. Therefore, the hypothesis needs to be rejected and the null hypothesis can be accepted as the null hypotehsis reflects what our results show on the scatter graph. The graph can also help identify outliers, as the partipant that scored significantly higher on the memory test and lower on this millionaire test could be regarded as an outlier as it does not follow the pattern of the other data found from the research.


Design – the design that was used in this research was correlational, which is good as allows us to identify if there is a relationship between two co variables as well as allowing research to be conducted that cannot be done in a lab experiment as is would not be viable. However, correlational studies do not show cause and effect between the two co variables and so it cannot be stated that having a good memory will cause a person to become a millionaire in the future as it could just as easily be that being a millionaire causes a person to have a good memory. Sample – the sample that as used in this study was very small, as only 10 people took part in the research; also the participants were psychology students. Therefore due to the small sample and the specific type of participant the results may not be able to be generalised to the wider population. Furthermore, gender may have
been an issue with the sample as there were only 2 males, whereas there were 8 females, therefore there was not an equal mix of each gender and so the results cannot be generalised.

Tests – the tests that were used in the study were a memory test created by the researcher and an online questionnaire to predict that chance that the participants would have of becoming a millionaire. The memory test was good as it used standardised instructions, meaning that the test was more reliable as the same instructions were shown to all participants at the same time, which reduces the amount on researcher bias and means that participants can query any confusion they have. Moreover, the standardise instructions mean that there is high control in the research and so the results are reliable. The millionaire test may have had some issues as the closed questions that were used may have not provided an applicable answer, resulting in participants answering questions incorrectly which may have an effect on the results.

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