IA Menu 3

The following menu is a list of potential studies to use for your internal assessment.

Some of the studies are rather complex and may need to be simplified. Remember, all IB experiments must have only one independent variable and one dependent variable. More than that will lead to very low marks or a possible failure of the IA.

For each of the studies below, you will find a quick description, the background theory that is most appropriate to discuss in your introduction and evaluation, and the citation of the original study with a link to the original study if available.

A big thank you to Anna Yukutenok for her assistance with this page.

IA Menu

Positively wonderful

Testing to see if negative words are more likely to be recalled than neutral words. 

Background theory:  the role of arousal in memory, arousal-biased competition (ABC) theory

Kensinger, E. A., & Corkin, S. (2003). Memory Enhancement for emotional words: Are emotional words more vividly remembered than neutral words? Memory & Cognition, 31(8), 1169–1180. https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03195800

Picture this!

Visuospatial sketchpad vs phonological loop:  Is it easier to recall a list of pictures or a list of words?

Background theory: Working Memory Model, Modality effect

Hasher, L., Riebman, B., & Wren, F. (1976). Imagery and the retention free recall learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory, 2(2), 172–181. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.2.2.172

Do you hear what I hear?

Iconic vs echoic memory: Can we recall words more easily when we hear them or see them? 

Background theory: Working Memory Model, Modality effect

Hilton, E.S. (2001). Differences in visual and auditory short-term memory. IU South Bend Undergraduate Research Journal, 4, 47-50.

Getting a little help

Can we recall words better when they are presented with a photo?

Background theory: Paivio's Dual Coding Theory

Mills, K. L., & McMullan, H. K. (2004). A study of short-term memory recall of pictures, words, and pictures and words presented together. http://webclearinghouse.net/volume/7/MILLS-AStudyofSh.php.

Looking on the bright side

Are we more interested in negative than in positive news coverage? Will people be able to recall information from titles that are negative articles more than positive titles?  Will participants choose to read articles that are more negative or more positive?  Either approach is appropriate.

Background theory: Dual Process Model, Negativity bias

Trussler, M., & Soroka, S. (2014). Consumer demand for cynical and negative news frames. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 19(3), 360-379. doi:10.1177/1940161214524832

Not just one of the crowd

Do we look more attractive when we are in a group?

Background theory: Dual processing model; the cheerleader effect

Walker, D., & Vul, E. (2013). Hierarchical encoding makes individuals in a group seem more attractive. Psychological Science, 25(1), 230-235. doi:10.1177/0956797613497969

Putting a smile on your face

Does the use of emoticons influence how we perceive the likability of the sender?

Background theory: Uncertainty reduction theory

Byron, K., & Baldridge, D. C. (2007). Email recipients' impressions of senders' likability: The interactive effect of nonverbal cues and recipients' personality. Journal of Business Communication, 44(2), 137-160. doi:10.1177/0021943606297902

The not-very-cute guy next door

Does having a less attractive person for comparison make someone more attractive on a dating app?

Background theory:  Dual Processing Model, Decoy effect - aka asymmetric dominance effect

Ariely, D. (2009). Predictably irrational: The hidden forces that shape our decisions (pp. 10-14). New York: Harper Perennial.

Relevant link

Avoiding the gym

Does reading something in difficult to read font make it appear to be more difficult?

Background theory: Cognitive load, processing fluency, Dual processing model; illusory correlation

Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2008). If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to do: Processing fluency affects effort prediction and motivation. Psychological Science, 19, 986-988.

Turbo word length effect

Does the word-length effect happen when words are of random lengths? The original researchers argue that when words are selected randomly, irrespective of their length, long words are recalled better than short ones, in a seeming contradiction to classical word length effect in both serial and free recall.

Background theory: The Working Memory Model, word-length effect

Katkov, M., Romani, S., & Tsodyks, M. (2014). Word length effect in free recall of randomly assembled word lists. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncom.2014.00129


Recall is worse when using a camera than when simply looking at a series of objects

Background theory: Levels of processing theory

Henkel, L. A. (2013). Point-and-shoot memories: The Influence of Taking Photos on Memory for a Museum Tour. Psychological Science, 25(2), 396-402. doi:10.1177/0956797613504438

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