Statistical tests

The mean was calculated adding up all the participants’ times and dividing this total by the number in the group (6) The advantages of this are that it gives a very precise figure which also takes into account every individual score. The mean can also be used to calculate several statistical tests. The disadvantages are that it requires the most calculation which means it can be time consuming. The mean can also be distorted by one or two extreme scores; however I was fortunate that there were no extreme scores within my experiment so the mean gives a true representation of the results

The median was calculated by listing all the participants’ scores for each task in ascending order and finding out the middle one which in this case would be the mean of the 3rd and 4th scores The advantages of this are that it is a good indication of the mid point of the group which means it is not influenced by a few extreme scores. The median however can not be used in many statistical calculations and can prove to be very time consuming with large groups. I decided to display my results in the form of a bar graph as it is instantly visually clear how the participants scored as a group.


From the results we can see that my original hypothesis was true; that the participants did take longer to complete that task of dividing a pack of cards into 2 piles of odd or even numbers when there was distracting music being played than they did to complete the task in silence. Generally it took the participants less time to process the simple information tan it took them to process the complex with a few exceptions that can not be seen within the group results.

The conclusions drawn from this are similar to those in Moray’s experiment which supports Treisman’s Attenuator Model theory. He tested whether we can respond to information in non-attended channels. To test this Moray’s participants wore headphones where a different message was played into each ear. Participants had to listen to one message and ignore the other. To ensure that the participants were listening, they had to repeat the message that they were paying attention to. The participant’s name was spoken into the non-attended ear. Moray found that most participants responded to their own name being said. From this it is evident that messages in non attended channels are not completely blocked out.

This can be seen in the results of my own experiment where although participants may have been concentrating on their card sorting task, when the music was played it had a distracting affect as the music was not completely blocked out. As an A-Level Psychology student I am conducting an experiment to determine whether or not it takes a person longer to complete a task where there is a distracting noise than when they complete the task in silence. To do this I would like my participants to sort a pack of cards into odd and even numbers in silence and then again for comparison purposes whilst listening to AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.

I can assure that if you agree to participate that you will have the Right to Withdraw from the experiment at any time, even if you have previously given consent. If you choose to withdraw at any time I will also withdraw any results recorded by you as a participant of the experiment. I will also ensure that you will be Protected from Harm throughout the experiment; meaning that you will be protected from short term distress and long term harm.

Finally I can assure that the experiment will be conducted with the maximum confidentiality as there will be no mention of any participants name within the written report. Please rest confident that I will not take any offence if you decide not to participate in the experiment or decide to opt out at a later date. Debriefing I would now like to take this opportunity to thank you all for participating in my experiment. The experiment was a success and my results matched my predictions of the experiment.

Once I have completed my written report it will be available to those who wish to read it. I would like to remind you again that your identity will be kept truly confidential and that you can still withdraw at this stage of the experiment and your results will not be used in the report. If any of you have any questions or comments regarding the experiment please do not hesitate to contact me.

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