May 11, 2015
Several students gave presentations along with their faculty mentors at the recent Mainely Data conference, which was held at UNE’s Biddeford Campus.
Graduate Elizabeth Whitmore, B.S., (Medical Biology major, Psychology minor, ’14) and Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, presented "Effects of elaboration and self-reference on free recall," which examined the effects of experiential learning and generating written responses rather than studying provided templates on recall.
Participants in this study were asked to prepare a written report answering both factual and applied questions about an experiential learning task. Subsequently, they were asked to freely recall the material from the report and complete a survey about the experience. Both the report and the assessment were scored based on correctness, organization, level of elaboration, use of applied examples and use of self-reference. The results of the study provided evidence that both level of elaboration and self-reference are significant predictors of improved memory and recall.
Lauren Hayden (Psychology, ’16) and Stiegler-Balfour gave a presentation titled "The effect of encoding specificity on learning in statistics," which aimed to build upon existing literature describing the testing effect and to determine if a match between encoding information and retrieving information matters (encoding specificity).
The results showed that although frequent testing improved recall of material overall, the effect was mediated by whether or not there was a match between encoding and retrieval conditions. The implications of the findings were discussed within the context of experiential learning and the transfer of knowledge literature.
Both Whitmore and Jessica Hering (Occupational Studies major, Psychology minor, ’15) presented with Stiegler-Balfour and Regula Robnett, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Their presentation, "Understanding the effects of mild cognitive impairment on reading comprehension ability" examined the effects of aging and memory decline on reading comprehension.
During the study a reading comprehension task was administered via computer in conjunction with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test to determine if the participant had experienced any cognitive decline. The results showed that individuals with lower attention spans as well as trouble with language fluency (sub-scales on the MoCA) had difficulty monitoring protagonists’ goals and were unable to detect if they performed an action that was inconsistent with previously stated intentions. The results were discussed within the context of the cognitive aging literature.