Ryan Kosmatka, Dan K. and David G.

CU Boulder, Fall 2006


We tested the effects of different environments on a personŐs memory.  When I try to study while the TV is on, I find that it is much more difficult to concentrate than when I am in a quiet room.  So our group decided to test this phenomenon.  We hypothesize that the audio and visual stimulus more negatively affects memory than audio stimulus alone, and that no stimulus will not negatively affect memory.


To test this hypothesis we set up three environments: A quiet room, a room with music, and a room with the TV on.  We chose these different environments because the silent room has no distractions, the music room has one distraction, and the T.V. room has two distractions.  Seven male participants will be presented 3 different patterns of symbols, letters, and numbers in a random order.  10 symbols will be given in each room.  We will assign a point value.  Each symbol is worth one point; a point will be taken away if the person incorrectly replicates a symbol.   Each person receives thirty seconds to memorize the designs, and then immediately try to replicate the design accurately within another 30-second period.  We predicted that the number of distractions in the environment is likely to progressively decrease the persons ability to memorize the patterns. 


Our results indicated that audio and visual distractions significantly (TV mean=4.5 points, Quiet mean=8.4 points, P=.00438) affected the persons ability to memorize.  Only one distraction (audio) still decreased the ability to memorize, but insignificantly (Music Mean=6.1 points, P=.0515).


Our results indicate that with the more distractions present, the persons ability to memorize will decrease more and more.  However some possible problems concerning the experiment could be a persons study habits, temp of the room, persons mood, volume of the music, and the program that is on the TV at the time.  If a person usually studies with the T.V or music on, they might do better on the test than people who study in silence. One possible way to carry this experiment further is to see the contrast between genders and memory loss or increasing the magnitude of distractions.