Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology

This experiment is based on the following paper:

Bartlett, F.C. (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press. Reprinted by permission of the Cambridge University Press.


Early psychologists conceived of learning in terms of the association of stimuli and responses without regard for any participation or influence from the learner. Bartlett had a different view. In 1932 he published a book titled Remembering in which he described many memory studies, documenting how the learner took an active role in shaping what they had learned and were able to recall. He was particularly interested in the way people seemed to organize new and meaningful information, adapting the material they learned to existing memory structures which he called schemas.

Using a simple recall task, Bartlett attempted to “find something about the common types of change introduced by normal individuals into remembered material with increasing lapse of time.”(p. 63) His observations were not measured or quantified under experimental conditions, and in some cases his study took place over a time span of more than ten years. Nevertheless, his ideas have been very influential to modern cognitive psychologists who study schemas and memory.


The full text describing the experiment is available here.

The experiments are available below. (13.9 KB) (16.6 KB)