The current study investigated the effect of information priming in relation to the use of informational technologies and transactive memory. University undergraduate students (Male =68, Female = 255, age ranging from 18 - 23+) participated in a priming exercise of 16 hard trivia questions, then a counter balanced "modified Stroop test (MST)". It was hypothesised that exposure to difficult questions would prime participants to think about where the information was located, such as computer databases. This priming would slow reaction time of computer related word analysis in the Stroop test due to interference. The results showed through various testing that the difference in reaction times between general and computer related words in the MST was insignificant. We further delve into future applications and the implication of this study.
Transactive memory refers to an individual's memory which is influenced by the knowledge and understanding of another individuals memory (Argote & Ren, 2012). The concept of transactive memory systems was conceived by Daniel Wegner in 1986, after observing groups relying on each other to obtain, encode, retain and communicate information from separate knowledge areas forming cognitive interdependence to divide cognitive labour (Lewis, 2003). The human brain takes advantage of a mechanism called cognitive control where by diverting your attention to important stimuli and ignores distracting stimuli (Lewis, 2003). This mechanism when coupled with priming, the use of predisposing something to a person so it's readily available in the mind can be the cause of interference and slowed thought process (Hogg, & Vaughan, 2011).
A study by Wegner, Erber, and Raymond (1991), investigated the relationship between transactive memory and people in close dating relationships. Their prior observations lead them to believe people in close relationships develop a shared memory schema or transactive memory, to test this they gathered 59 heterosexual dating couples who had been dating a minimum of three months (Wegner et al., 1991). The participants were required to memorise seven separate categories, which they were then assessed on later as couples and individuals. The couples were in agreement of which partner was more expert on each item category using each to remember the items scoring significantly on the post-assessment (p< .001) (Wegner et al., 1991). The study showed a use of transactive memory in significant others contrasting Sparrow, Liu, and Wegner (2011) who investigated transactive memory in technology.
Sparrow et al., (2011), explores the theory that access to free online search engines, data bases and other informational technology has lead to it becoming peoples primary transactive memory source. Sparrow et al., then came up with a pre-test of both easy and hard trivia questions, to test if once information is required, does humans internal coding look for the information required or its source? A MST was used to test reaction times of participants, which due to the priming and predisposition of the trivia, would indicate what information the participants were thinking of. The slowed reaction time to internet related words supported Sparrows et al., hypothesis providing statistically significant research, their two tailed t test reporting P < 0.003.
The current study aims to replicate and further explore Sparrow et al., (2011) study, by furthering the research on transactive memory and its relationship with informational technology. It was hypothesised that participants exposed to difficult questions in the pre-test, will have a slowed reaction time when identifying 'computer' related words in the post-test (MST).
A with-in group quasi-experimental design was used to investigate