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First Article Summary

Competitive Short-Term and Long-Term Memory Processes in Spatial Habituation is a study of 2011 done by Sanderson and Bannerman. This study focuses on the role of short-term memory in spatial habituation. In particular, researchers were able to control their subject's short-term and long-term exposure while measuring their habituation to deduce whether they developed spatial habituation over a longer or shorter time interval. The introduction of the study is about habituation whereby authors set out to define and describe associated concepts of long-term and short-term memory about the development of a habit in rodent subjects.

Sanderson and Bannerman (2011) borrowed extensively from previous studies conducted by such researchers like Wagner (1981) and Davis (1970) among other pioneers in the field of memory-related experiments that focused on the brain functioning in terms of short-term and long-term memory. The presented hypothesis of this study is that long-term and short-term habituation are separate processes that can actually compete with one another, which means that there is no dependence between the short-term and long-term memory as far as the concept of habituation is concerned.

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The researchers conducted three separate experiments in which they were able to control several variables and observe the behavior of their subjects. Primarily, the study design was observational and the findings were recorded and analyzed during and after the tests. The three tests were meant to confirm that long-term and short-term habituation are separate processes that can compete with each other. Experiments 1 and 2 focused on spatial tasks aimed at testing mice habituation with the first experiment using a design from Davis (1970) with significant improvements as suggested by Mackintosh (1987).

The second experiment was then divided into parts 2a and 2b providing further evidence that long-term habituation is consistent with the expected dual-process account of habituation suggested by Sanderson and Bannerman (2011). The last experiment focuses on finding evidence that an associative process will always result in long-term spatial habituation rather than the contrary. This means that when subjects develop associations, they will remember the situation in the long run.

Results indicated that there was a significant difference between the groups. In the first experiment, the shorter training interval resulted in greater habituation. The second experiment established that the number of exposures and the amount of exposure contributed to the strength of the habituation meaning that the long-term memory was developing with each exposure. The third experiment proved that associations developed during the exposure determined the outcomes of the training trials apart from the long-term and short-term memories.

The discussion section of this study presented the findings of the research objectives proving the hypothesis. Generally, the researchers were able to argue for spontaneous recognition in rodents supporting it with the findings from their experiments. They also presented research limitations showing the presence and influence of associations on the memory and habituation of the mice.

Second Article Summary

The Effect of Video Games on Memory: A Meta-Analysis is another empirical study by Carmen Lidia Tavarez in which the researcher seeks to find the video games' effect on the memory of the player. In this study, the introduction focuses on an analysis of video games (VG) and their influence on children's lives. The researcher provides data on the current number of people in the society that are seemingly addicted to the games justifying the interest of the population in understanding the underlying implications of such activity. The study did not have a working hypothesis because it was relatively experimental and focused on establishing the facts.

To achieve the objectives of the study, the researcher opted to conduct a meta-analysis of previous studies on the subject. It is reported that the researcher was able to find eight relevant articles that met the inclusion criteria of being peer-reviewed and measuring VG use by their subjects (Tavarez, 2011). Meta-analysis primarily involved examining identified sources to come up with a conclusion on the collective findings.

Results of this particular study indicated that video games had a moderately positive effect on the memory of the subjects tested. Contrary to popular belief, this means that playing video games does not have a bad effect on individuals. Rather, people who play video games are likely to have a better memory, although this concept is not fully supported. The findings were expressed mainly statistically, but it can be noted that the correlation between video games and memory was not as negative as expected.

Generally, the study established that playing video games did not have any negative implications on the individual's memory, especially after the moderate effect of video games on the memory was found to be 0.5. Although 0.5 is a positive result, it is very small and may not have any significant impact on the memory of the player (Tavarez, 2011).

In the discussion section, the researcher was able to emphasize the association of video games with both short-term and long-term memory. According to the researcher, playing video games did not hurt subjects' cognitive functions or their memories. This means that the whole idea that video games are bad may be false after all. Despite the lack of significant results to prove that video games are actually useful, the fact that they are not harmful either is a good discovery. The limitations of the study were the databases that a researcher used to look for the information for the meta-analysis.

Third Article Summary

Age Differences in Short-Term Memory Binding Are Related to Working Memory Performance Across the Lifespan is a study about memory performance during the course of life. In the study, the researchers used a global-local recognition paradigm aimed at establishing the extent to which the age differences in binding can be credited with the differences in short-term recognition performance during childhood and adulthood (Fandakofa, Sander, Werkler-Bergner & Shing, 2014).

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In the introduction, the researchers defined the underlying concepts of the study seeking to explain why collected information is relevant and important within the current contexts (Fandakofa et al., 2014). The main argument of the paper is that the differences in short-term memory binding are directly associated with the age of the participant.

In the methods section, it can be noted that researchers employed observation borrowing the sample populations from the two previous studies. All participants were from Berlin and none of the older participants were considered in a deteriorated cognitive state given that they all lived independently in their respective communities. Also, all participants undertook standardized tests to measure their memory and cognitive functions as a way of ascertaining their performance before the actual tests began.

This gave the researchers a clear picture of the underlying conditions that would be existent during the study. Noteworthy, applied tests were rather complex and specifically designed to map the abilities of the participants to recognize numbers or interpret texts depending on the contexts of the test.

The findings indicated a clear decline in the subjects memory performances with time. First, older participants performed lower on the global recognition task than their teenage counterparts. Considering local recognition tasks, adults outperformed both older and younger participants indicating a peak age for this function. In the working memory context, it was noted that older participants performed the same as younger participants of the study. Teenagers performed better than young children and older participants. Younger adults were ranked the best in terms of their working memory, but they generally performed the same as teenagers.

In the discussion section, the authors broke down their findings with relevance to the memory of the subjects. They found that there were several differences in the scores for the tested variables hence indicating different memory capabilities as one grew older. The findings indicated that while there were no significant differences in the short-term memory as one aged, there were many differences in single item recognition and item context among others. The limitation of this study was the efficiency of the results across the lifespan given it was a cross-sectional rather than a longitudinal study with the required level of consistency.

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Synthesis

Each of the three studies discussed different concerns of short-term memory. The first study Competitive Short-Term and Long-Term Memory Processes in Spatial Habituation by Sanderson and Bannerman (2011) focused on the processes of short-term memory and their relationship with long-term memory. The findings indicated that short-term memory was actually independent of long-term memory and thus, that the two processes could compete with one another. The second empirical study The Effect of Video Games on Memory: A Meta-Analysis by Carmen Lidia Tavarez (2011) focused on the effects of video games on the memory of an individual with a particular interest in short-term memory of the subject in question.

In this study, it was noted that playing video games did not have any negative effects on subjects' memory. Rather, the games had a small positive effect on the memory functions. The insight here was that the participants would be able to improve their memory by playing video games. However, the findings were not entirely conclusive about the significance of the correlation between the games and the memory function.

The last study, Age Differences in Short-Term Memory Binding Are Related to Working Memory Performance Across the Lifespan, focused on the gradual changes of the memory throughout life. This particular study is significant because it helps explain differences in ones working memory from childhood to senility. The focus on short-term memory provided information about the consistency with which people were able to remember things for a short time at different stages of life.

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Each of the three studies was different and yet all of them provided significant information related to short-term memory. The lesson here is that one topic has numerous potential angles that need to be examined for better understanding.

Evaluation

All three studies were conducted appropriately considering what the researchers were investigating. For example, the best way to understand the relationship between the short-term and long-term memory processes was to observe the mice using previously structured tests and controls. The best way to understand the effect of video games on the players would be to observe their performance. Moreover, even though this could have been a long and tedious process if subjects were directly involved, the meta-analysis provided the researcher with a means of obtaining all necessary data without involving participants.

The general idea was to ensure that the researcher was able to obtain the required information to answer their study questions. The last research, in this case, used a cross-sectional approach to examine a phenomenon that would have been best examined through a longitudinal study owing to the consistency of the subjects through their lifespans.

However, such an approach was not feasible as it would take over 50 years to observe individuals from their childhood through teenage years and adulthood to senility. The cross-sectional approach featuring different participants at different stages of their lives worked well with negligible limitations. Therefore, in essence, all these studies were impressively reliable based on the expected outcomes and published results.

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