What are the effects of active screen time on your short-term memory?
My hypothesis was that the more active screen time, the worse the subject’s short-term memory.
To start out my experiment, I asked my test subject if she would like to be a part of my experiment. She said yes. For the first day, we gave her no recreational screen time whatsoever- this means no video games, watching shows, or anything that isn’t school related. At the end of the day, I pulled up the online memory test that we were using. The test was simple. First, it showed a few letters for a couple seconds. Then the letters disappeared and I asked the test subject to say the letters she remembers. After this, I recorded the results in my science notebook.
Then the next round started. We repeated this process for six rounds, and then added up all the results to compare with the other scores later.
The next day, the test subject got one hour of screen time. Since different types of screen time affect the brain differently, we had chosen to keep the same type of screen time throughout the experiment. She used the app Toca World, a video game. Though Toca World is relatively relaxed, it still counts as active screen time as the subject is still interacting with the screen often. We repeated the memory test at the end of the day, and recorded the results again in my notebook.
Over the next three days I repeated these steps but with screen time measurements of 2, 3, and 4 hours. At the end of the experiment I compared all my results in a chart.
The increase in screen time correlated with improved short term memory. The test subject was especially irritable after the increased amounts of screen time.
I may note that the test subjects did unauthorized television programs during the given screen time. Along with this, we allowed the subject to do screen time after the memory tests. As I spoke about in the background research, media multitasking can result in less focus. The subject’s memory may have been impacted by this.
The memory test also showed the same letters every time, which could have impacted the results. Most likely, the repetition of the same letters would make the test subject improve with practice for reasons aside from screen time.
The results of the experiment were against my hypothesis. However, it is likely that the repeated letters in the memory test boosted the results.