How Long Does It Take To Remember Something?
Grade Level: 7th -10th; Type: Behavioral Science
In this experiment, students will discover the average time it takes for a person to remember something completely.
In this experiment, we will give each test subject a passage to memorize to the best of their ability, in one sitting. Some people say that a person has to recite something 20 times for it to be permanently stored in their brain. But is this true?
- A chosen passage of about 50 words (you can create one yourself or pick a pre-written passage, but remember not to choose a popular passage that some people may have already memorized)
- Test subjects
- A watch/timer
- Pen and paper for notes
- Hand out the chosen word passage to your test subject and ask them to remember it to the best of their ability. Instruct them to tell you when they are comfortable with reciting the passage. Begin timing.
- When your test subject is ready to recite it, record the time.
- As your subject recites the passage, take note of any pauses or mistakes in your notes. If your test subject makes excessive mistakes, give them more time to study the passage, record the additional time, and then have them recite again.
- Do steps 1-3 for all your test subjects.
- Calculate the average time it took for all your test subjects to recite the passage with 100% accuracy.
- Evaluate your results.
Terms/Concepts: Memory; Sensory memory; Short term memory; Long term memory
- Fivush, Robyn and Neisser, Ulric (1994). The remembering self: Construction and accuracy in the self-narrative. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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