Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Memory for televised information: a problem for applied and theoretical psychology

Abstract

Several approaches to variations in memory for informational television are reviewed. Although broad sociological approaches have not yet proved very fruitful, recent cognitively-oriented research has indicated important effects on learning and remembering of detailed aspects of programmes, such as visual format, sequencing of material, vision-text relations and varied recapitulation of information. The evidence for the importance of these factors has derived mainly from studies of TV news material, but Educational Television research is also beginning to show promising results as more attention is given to the detailed ways in which information is organized within programmes. Individual differences are also important, however, and need to be more effectively studied. By and large, there is little support for the more pessimistic views about the value of television as a source of information and instruction, and research findings point to many aspects of practice that might be improved to make programmes more effective. Some of the problems of applying research findings and of the relation of psychological theory to applied experimentation are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

REFERENCE NOTES

  1. Berry, C. What Can Psychology Contribute to Assessing Informational Television? MS submitted for publication.

  2. Berry, C., Clifford, B.R. & Gunter, B. Theme, Presentation and the Viewer in TV News Recall: How Should the Research Develop? MS submitted for publication.

REFERENCES

  1. Altheide, D. L. (1976). Creating Reality: How TV News Distorts Events. Beverly Hills: Sage.

  2. Baggaley, J. & Duck, S. W. ( 1974). Experiments in ETV: effects of adding background. Educational Broadcasting International, 7, 208–209.

  3. Baggaley, J. & Duck, S. W. (1975a). Experiments in ETV: effects of edited cutaways. Educational Broadcasting International, 8, 36–37.

  4. Baggaley, J. & Duck, S. W. (1975b). Experiments in ETV: further effects of camera angle. Educational Broadcasting International, 8, 183–184.

  5. Barabasz, A. F. (1968). A study of recall and retention of accelerated lecture presentation techniques. Journal of Communication, 18, 283–287.

  6. Bates, T. & Gallagher, M. (1977). Improving the effectiveness of Open University Television case-studies and documentaries. Institute of Educational Technology Papers on Broadcasting, No. 77.

  7. Blumenthal, G. B. & Robbins, D. (1977). Delayed release from proactive interference with meaningful material: how much do we remember after reading brief prose passages? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 3, 754- 761.

  8. Booth, A. (1970). The recall of news items. Public Opinion Quarterly, 34, 604–610.

  9. Bransford, J. D. & McCarrell, N. S. (1974). A sketch of a cognitive approach to comprehension: some thoughts about understanding and what it means to comprehend. In I. W. B. Weimer & D. S. Palermo (eds.), Cognition and the Symbolic Process. London: Wiley.

  10. British Broadcasting Corporation (1978). Annual Review of BBC Audience Research Findings, No.4, 1976/7. London: BBC.

  11. Chu, G. & Schramm, W. (1967). Learning from Television: What the Research Says. Washington: National Association of Educational Broadcasters.

  12. Clifton, C. & Slowiaczek, M. L. (1980). Integrating new information with old knowledge. Memory and Cognition, 9, 142–148.

  13. Cohen, A. A., Wigand, R. T. & Harrison, R. P. (1976). The effects of emotion-arousing events on children’s learning from TV news. Journalism Quarterly, 53, 204–210.

  14. Cohen, A. A., Wigand, R. T. & Harrison, R. P. (1977). The effects of type of event, proximity and repetition on children’s attention to and learning from television news. Communications, 3, 30–46.

  15. Coldevin, G. O. (1975). The differential effects of voice-over, suderimposition and combined review treatments as production strategies for ETV programming. In J. Baggaley, G. H. Jamieson & H. Merchant (eds.), Aspects of Education Television VIII. London: Pitman.

  16. Coldevin, G. O. (1976). Comparative effectiveness of TV production variables. Journal of Educational Television, 2, 87–93.

  17. Craik, F. I. M. (1979). Human Memory. Annual Review of Psychology, 30, 63–102.

  18. Craik, F. I. M. & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: a framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671–684.

  19. Dooling, D. J. & Lachman, R. (1971). Effects of comprehension on retention of prose. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 88, 216–222.

  20. Duck, S. W. & Baggaley, J. (1975a). Experiments in ETV: interviews and edited structure. Educational Broadcasting International, 8, 93–94.

  21. Duck, S. W. & Baggaley, J. (1975b). Experiments in ETV: effects of camera angle. Educational Broadcasting International, 8, 134.

  22. Eberspächter, V. & Esche, A. (1978). Der Einfluss syntaktischer und semantischer Merkmale auf die Verarbeitung von Fernsehnachrichten-text. Communications. 4, 182–200.

  23. Edwardson, M., Grooms, D. & Pringle, P. (1976). Visualization and TV news information gain. Journal of Broadcasting, 20, 373–380.

  24. Eysenck, H. J. (1966). Personality and experimental psychology. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, 19, 1–28.

  25. Elliott, P. (1972). The Making of a Television Series: a Case Study in the Sociology of Culture. London: Constable.

  26. Engqvist, A. (1968). Film Som Undervisningsmedium. Pedagogiska Institutionen, Uppsala University.

  27. Fairbanks, G., Guttman, N. & Miron, M. S. (1957). Auditory comprehension in relation to listening rate in selective verbal redundancy. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 27, 23–32.

  28. Faison (1968). mentioned in Engqvist (q.v.).

  29. Findahl, O. (1971). The Effect of Visual Illustrations upon Perception and Retention of News Programs. Swedish Broadcasting Corporation Audience and Program Research Department Report.

  30. Findahl, O. & Höijer, B. (1971). Repetition and Reformulations in a News Program: a study in retention and audience perception. Swedish Broadcasting Corporation Audience and Program Research Department Report.

  31. Findahl, P. & Höijer, B. (1972). Man as a Receiver of Information: on Knowledge, Social Privilege and the News. Swedish Broadcasting Corporation Audience and Program Research Department Report.

  32. Findahl, O. & Höijer, B. (1976). Fragments of Reality: an Experiment with News and TV Visuals. Swedish Broadcasting Corporation Audience and Program Research Department Report.

  33. Findahl, O. & Höijer, B. (1977). How Important is Presentation? A Review of Experimental Research. Swedish Broadcasting Corporation Audience and Program Research Department Report.

  34. Foulke, E. (1968). Listening comprehension as a function of word rate. Journal of Communication, 18, 188–206.

  35. Funkhouser, G. R. & McCombs, M. E. (1971). The rise and fall of news diffusion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 35, 107–113.

  36. Gantz, W. (1979). How uses and gratifications affect recall of television news. Journalism Quarterly, 56, 115–123.

  37. Genova, B. K. L. & Greenberg, B. J. (1979). Interest in the news and knowledge gap. Public Opinion Quarterly, 43, 79–91.

  38. Glasgow Media Group (1976). Bad News. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

  39. Gunter, B. (1979). Recall of television news items: effects of presentation mode, picture content and serial position. Journal of Educational Television and Other Media, 5, 57–61.

  40. Gunter, B. (1980a). Remembering television news: effects of picture content. Journal of General Psychology, 102, 127–133.

  41. Gunter, B. (1980b). An investigation into Some Factors Influencing the Perception and Memory of Television News. North East London Polytechnic: Unpublished PhD dissertation (CNAA).

  42. Gunter, B., Clifford, B. R. & Berry, C. (1980). Release from proactive dimensions within television news items: evidence for encoding dimensions within televised news. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 6, 216–223.

  43. Gunter, B., Berry, C. & Clifford, B. R. (1981). Release from proactive interference with television news items: further evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 7, 480–487.

  44. Hazard, W. R. (1963). On the impact of television’s pictured news. Journal of Broadcasting, 17, 43–51.

  45. Heidt, E. W. (1975). In search of a media taxonomy: problems of theory and practice. British Journal of Educational Technology, 1, 4–23.

  46. Jorgenson, E.S. (1955). The Relative Effectiveness of Three Methods of Television Newscasting. University of Wisconsin. Unpublished PhD dissertation.

  47. Honeck, R. P. (1973). Interpretive versus structural effects on semantic memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 12, 448–455.

  48. Katz, E., Adoni, H. & Parness, P. (1977). Remembering the news: what the picture adds to recall. Journalism Quarterly, 54, 231–239.

  49. Kintsch, W. (1974). The Representation of Meaning in Memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

  50. Kintsch, W. (1976). Memory for prose. In C.N. Cofer (ed.), The Structure of Memory. San Francisco: Freeman.

  51. Loftus, G. & Patterson, K. K. (1975). Components of short-term proactive interference. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 157–173.

  52. Magnus, U. (1979). Die Reaktionen auf ‘Holocaust’. Ergebnisse der Begleitstudien des WDR und der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Media Perspektiven, 4/79, 226- 229.

  53. Mednick, S. A. (1964). Learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

  54. Neuman, W. R. (1976). Patterns of recall among television news viewers. Public Opinion Quarterly, 40, 115–123.

  55. Nussbaum, J. F. & Scott, M. D. (1979). Instructor communication behaviors and their relationship to classroom learning. In D. Nimmo (ed.), Communication Yearbook No. 3. New Brunswick: Transaction Books.

  56. Posner, M. I. & Shulman, G. L. (1979). Cognitive science. In E. Hearst (ed.), The First Century of Experimental Psychology. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 371–406.

  57. Renckstorf, K. (1977). Nachrichtensendungen im Fernsehen: eine empirische Studie zur Wirkung unterschiedlicher Darstellungsformen in Fernsehnachrichten. Media Perspektiven, 1/77, 27–42.

  58. Renckstorf, K. (1980). Nachrichtensendungen im Fernsehen (I): Zur Wirkung von Darstellungsformen in Fernsehnachrichten. Berlin: Volker Spiess Verlag.

  59. Robinson, J.P., Davis, P., Salin, H. & O’Toole, T. (1980). Comprehension for Television News: How Alert is the Audience? Paper presented to the Radio- Television Division of the Association for Education in Journalism, Boston, Massachusetts.

  60. Rydin, I. (1976). Information Processes in Pre-school Children. II: The Tale of the Seed. Swedish Broadcasting Corporation Audience and Program Research Unit Report.

  61. Salomon, G. & Cohen, A. A. (1977). Television formats, mastery of mental skills, and the acquisition of knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 69, 612–619.

  62. Sanders, R. B. (1977). A Comparative Study of Selected Visual Effects in Television News Stories and Commercials. PhD thesis, University of Colorado at Boulder.

  63. Schaps, E. & Guest, L. (1968). Some pros and cons of color TV. Journal of Advertising Research, 8, 28–29.

  64. Schlater, P. (1970). Effect of speed of presentation on recall of televised messages. Journal of Broadcasting, 14, 207–214.

  65. Schlesinger, P. (1978). Putting ‘Reality’ Together: BBC News. London: Constable.

  66. Schramm, W. (1975). Wanted middlemen: Mittler gesucht. Rundfunk und Fernsehen, 9, 51- 59.

  67. Schulman, A. L. (1975). Encoding processes and the memorability of events. In A. Kennedy & A. Wilkes (eds), Studies in Long Term Memory. London: Wiley.

  68. Scott, M. D. & Wheeler, L. R. (1977). Instructional communication theory and research: the overview. In B. D. Rubens (ed.), Communication Yearbook No. 1. New Brunswick: Transaction Books.

  69. Silbermann, A. (1980). The sociology of mass media and mass communication. International Social Science Journal, 32, 223–237.

  70. Smith, J. R. & McEwen, W. J. (1974). Effects of newscaster delivery rate on recall and judgement of sources. Journal of Broadcasting, 18, 73–83.

  71. Spears, G. (1979). Literacy in Print and Television. Paper presented at NAEB Convention, Chicago.

  72. Stauffer, J., Frost, R. & Rybolt, W. (1978). Literacy, illiteracy and learning from television news. Communication Research, 5, 221–232.

  73. Stern, A. (1961). Cited by J. Robinson in F. G. Kline & P.G. Tichenor (eds.), Current Perspectives, Mass Communications Research, Volume 1. Beverly Hills: Sage.

  74. Sullivan, A. M., Andrews, E. A., Hollinghurst, F., Maddigan, R. & Noseworthy, C. M. (1977). The relative effectiveness of instructional television. Interchange, 7, 46–51.

  75. Tannenbaum, P. H. (1954). Effect of serial position on recall of radio news stories. Journalism Quarterly, 31, 319–323.

  76. Thorndyke, P. W. (1977). Cognitive structures in comprehension and memory for narrative discourse. Cognitive Psychology, 9, 77–110.

  77. Tulving, E. & Pearstone, Z. (1966). Availability versus accessibility of information in memory for words. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 5, 381- 391.

  78. Watkins, O. C. & Watkins, M. J. (1975). Buildup of proactive inhibition as a cue overload effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 1, 442–452.

  79. Webster, B. R. & Cox, S. M. (1974). The value of colour in educational television. British Journal of Educational Technology, 5, 4–60.

  80. Wickens, D. D. (1970). Encoding categories of words: an empirical approach to memory. Psychological Review, 77, 1–15.

  81. Wickens, D. D. (1972). Characteristics of word encoding. In A.W. Melton & E. Martin (eds.), Coding Processes in Human Memory. New York: Wiley, pp. 19–215.

  82. Wober, J. M. (1978). The Need for News: Audience Attitudes towards Nine News Topics. London: Independent Broadcasting Authority, unpublished report.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Colin Berry or Barrie Gunter or Brian Clifford.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Berry, C., Gunter, B. & Clifford, B. Memory for televised information: a problem for applied and theoretical psychology. Current Psychological Reviews 1, 171–191 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02979263

Download citation

Keywords

  • Free Recall
  • Serial Position
  • News Story
  • News Item
  • Television News