Memory is part and parcel of every individual’s life. This is because it makes the human race function. If one does not remember how, when, what, where, and who of experiences encountered in everyday life, human beings would not manage.

The importance of the role played by memory warrants intensive studies to discover the workings of human memory, how it can be enhanced given that it tends to fade upon the progression of age, and how it can be effectively used to generally improve life. In this regard, extensive studies have been carried out in this regard. This paper will evaluate two journal articles that focus on the general area of memory, and which has been narrowed down to their respective study focuses.

Theoretical Rationale and Background

The study carried out by Olkkonen and Allred (2014) focuses on the effect that short-term memory has on color perception. The theoretical rationale is based on the indication that color-based object selection is demanding on both memory and perceptual processes. In this case, Olkkonen and Allred (2014) indicate that it is important to form stable perceptual estimate of the surface color in memory and also retain a multiple perception estimate when comparing various objects. The authors identified a missing link on the basis that a majority of research programs fail to show the independence between memory and color perception, where in most cases, color appearances are weakened as a result of a short focus and retention interval between a test stimulus and a reference.

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Research Questions

The guiding research questions for this study are as follows:

  1. Are color constancy and memory processes independent?
  2. What is the impact of a short retention interval on a color appearance context?
  3. What is the impact of a joint analysis of perception and memory in color tasks?

Experimental Design and Findings

The experimental design adopted in this study is that of a real-world color hue testing. In this case, tomatoes under different lighting hues were used as the primary method and analyzed by various scientific techniques. In this case, the illumination differences created a perception of the ripeness of the tomatoes. According to Olkkonen and Allred (2014), despite being an easy task, the analysis of optimally ripe tomatoes tends to place to significant demands on the processing of visual information. The tomatoes were placed in four different panels that were under different illumination. Tomatoes in two panels were under direct illumination, while those in the other two panels were in the shadows. In this case, it requires one to commit to memory the surface color of tomatoes as well as object properties and use this information by comparing tomatoes to determine the best buy.

The independence of color constancy and color memory was determined by measuring precision for hue and appearance in a factoral design with memory and constancy manipulations. The authors also adopted the ANOVA test to evaluate the effects of memory and constancy on thresholds, where memory, constancy, and reference backgrounds were included as fixed effects while the random effect was subject.

The findings of this study revealed that the effect of color appearance context is modulated by short-term color memory. The authors indicate that the finding of this study is incongruent with the hypothesis that memory and constancy processes are independent through an implicit assumption of color memory and color perception.

Furthermore, Olkkonen and Allred (2014) indicate that the delay between the reference and test interval of the tomatoes that was caused by the illumination and shadow backgrounds made them appear functionally similar. This is based on the reflection that an observer would estimate the reflectance of light and the illumination color jointly.


The authors conclude that the short-term memory impacts color processing in a manner that is similar to that of an observer who takes prior information into consideration in different degrees on the basis of sensory signal variability.

The concept of memory is evaluated in an educational setting by McDermott, Agarwal, Antonio, Roediger, and McDaniel (2014). In this case, McDermott et al (2014) assess the impact that multiple-choice and short-answer class quizzes have on the retention of information of students. The authors narrowed their sample population to middle and high school levels.

Theoretical Framework and Background

The authors base their study on various research findings through laboratory testing that reveal that in all levels, the assessment of students’’ learning has the potential to influence retention at a later time. Furthermore, studies have indicated that even without corrective feedback, the attempt to retrieve information tends to enhance the likelihood of individuals to retrieve the information. This phenomenon is referred to as the Testing Effect.

McDermott et al, (2014) provide that the above assertion is based on laboratory studies, which are suggestive and therefore not sufficient in providing recommendations. Furthermore, in most instances, laboratory tests present information once, a situation that differs considerably in the classroom setup where integrated content is repeated frequently. For this reason, their research study is based on a classroom setting, a concept that is feasible and can be applied in real situations. Despite various studies carrying out their research on testing effects in classroom settings, only a few have managed to undertake this task with the use of actual course testing and assessment (McDermott et al, 2014). Therefore, the basis of this study is founded on the findings of previous studies that reveal the positive influence of low-stake multiple-choice tests coupled with immediate feedback on the correct answer on the retention capability of students.

Research Questions

According to McDermott et al (2014), the guiding research questions in this study are as follows:

  1. Can educators adopt the knowledge of the use of low-stake multiple-choice classroom quizzes in order to enhance students’ learning capability?
  2. Does the adoption of initial quizzes improve the performance of the unit’s main exam?

Experimental Design and Findings

The study involved 141 seventh-grade student participants in the study drawn from a public middle school from a middle-class community. The experiment involved three learning conditions, namely, short-answer quiz, multiple-choice quiz, and not tested conditions and two unit exam format, namely, short-answer and multiple-choice formats. In this case, course materials from two units from the seventh grade were used, bacteria and earth’s water. Three initial tests were administered for each unit. The first was a pre-lesson quiz that was administered before the material was taught, a post-lesson quiz, after students were taught the material, and a review quiz, which was administered one day prior to the exam. Pencil and paper worksheets as well as a clicker response system were adopted in the study.

The findings of the study revealed an improvement in performance in the pre-lesson quiz to the post-lesson quiz, and eventually, to the review quiz in the case of the initial quiz performance. Furthermore, more students answered the multiple-choice quiz correctly compared to short-answer quizzes (66% and 40% respectively). In the case of unit-exam performance, participants performed best on questions that had appeared on the multiple-choice quizzes , moderately for short-answer quizzes, and the worst in cases where items were not tested previously.


McDermott et al (2014) conclude that the performance of students ultimately improve through the quizzes, the pre-lesson, post-lesson, and the review quizzes. This demonstrates that they have learnt the material and have an enhanced comprehension of the material. In light of whether the quizzes had an influence on the students’ performance in the main exam, the research revealed that quizzes that took the form of a short-answer format enhanced performance of latter tests. This mostly applied in instances where quizzes adopted a multiple-choice format.

The findings of Olkkonen and Allred (2014) reveal the need for further analysis of visual information processing in relation to the use of memory. As such, the results of this study can be adopted in further understanding the role played by sensory capabilities of an individual in relation to memory, and its impact on decision making. In the second case, the study by McDermott et al (2014) reveal the influence of pre-testing on the overall performance of students in the main test. This can be adopted in educational settings, where quizzes should adopt a multiple-choice format and should be administered several times prior to the main exam in order to allow students retain more information, hence improve their learning experience.

The findings of the above two studies can be accommodated in professional settings without any modifications. This is because the first is based on a practical experience of lighting and its influence in memory development and decision making, as in the case of grocery selection. The second case also involves a practical experience in the classroom. Therefore, the studies’ findings can be incorporated in respective areas.

A follow-up study need not be conducted as the studies are based on practical situations, hence can fit in professional setting.