Lesson Element Component 2: Memory research comparison Instructions and answers for teachers

Learner Resource 1.2 Variables in memory research

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Learner Resource 1.2 Variables in memory research

Complete the table below to identify the independent and dependent variables in both pieces of research. You need to identify the variables as well as state how they have been operationalised.


Independent variable

Dependent variable

Notes on discussion questions

Loftus and Palmer (1974)

Experiment 1

Experiment 1

Experiment 2

Experiment 2

Grant et al (1998)

Discussion points

  1. What type of data did each experiment collect?

  1. How valid is the data collected in each piece of research?

  1. Is the data a good reflection of memory recall in real life?

Once you have made notes on the discussion points record below what was similar and what was different.



Learner Resource 1.3 Research design decisions

Both Loftus & Palmer and Grant et al’s research used laboratory experiments to investigate how their chosen independent variables affected memory recall. Many have criticised the use of this type of experiment because it lowers the ecological validity.
Why does this lower the ecological validity for each piece of research?

The use of laboratory experiments in Loftus and Palmer’s research lowers ecological validity because...

The use of laboratory experiments in Grant et al’s research lowers ecological validity because…

A key part of psychological research is evaluating current research and striving to improve it to understand human behaviour fully and ultimately improve the applications to real life that research has. Draw the following table and complete it to suggest improvements to the methodology and measurement of variables, then critique your changes.

Research to be improved

Change suggested including how to implement this

Benefits of change

Weaknesses to consider

Loftus and Palmer

Change to a field experiment so more realistic setting such as a real crash in front of participants…

Higher ecological validity because…

Lowers the control because…

Loftus and Palmer

Grant et al

Grant et al

Cognitive psychology

Memory recall



Hypothetical construct
Once you have completed the table, look at the weaknesses you have identified and write a paragraph to justify why these pieces of research have used a laboratory setting to investigate memory. The following key terms may be of use:

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