My classmates and I are conducting a written paper on bransford and johnson's laundry experiment, but we cannot find good reliable sources on the original experiment to provide context and explanation on how exactly it was performed. any help please?


There was no laundry experiment per se. What you are referring to is part of an experiment to do with investigations of comprehension and memory recall.

The following is a passage from Section 3.4 of the free online course Starting with psychology at the UKs Open University [with a link to the pdf provided by Erik M. Altmann of Michigan State University Psychology Department added by myself]

John Bransford and Marcia Johnson (1972) carried out a number of experiments which illustrated the role of schemas in our understanding and recall of information. In one experiment the participants were read the passage below and then asked to recall it as accurately as possible. However half of the participants were given a title for the following passage and the other participants were given the passage without the title.

The procedure is actually quite simple. First you arrange things into different groups… Of course, one pile may be sufficient depending on how much there is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack of facilities that is the next step, otherwise you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo any particular endeavour. That is, it is better to do too few things at once than too many. In the short run this may not seem important, but complications from doing too many can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well… At first the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just another facet of life. It is difficult to foresee any end to the necessity for this task in the immediate future, but then one never can tell. After the procedure is completed one arranges the materials into different groups again. Then they can be put into their appropriate places. Eventually they will be used once more and the whole cycle will have to be repeated. However, that is part of life.

(Bransford and Johnson 1972 p. 722)

The passage was given to 2 groups — 1 with the topic of the passage, and 1 without the topic.

The instruction sheet for the toipc before Ss included the additional sentence, "The paragraph you will hear will be about washing clothes" (Bransford and Johnson, 1972 p. 722)


Bransford, J.D., & Johnson, M.K. (1972). Contextual prerequisites for understanding: Some investigations of comprehension and recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11(6), 717-726. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371(72)80006-9

  • $\begingroup$ thank you very much for your assistance Mr Rogers!! I'm very grateful. $\endgroup$ Oct 22 '20 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ because my group and I are beginners to psychology essays, do you mind giving us a brief methodology of how to write a psychology essay involving a study. $\endgroup$ Nov 2 '20 at 13:25

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