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Flashcards in CLOA - Evaluation of a Cognitive Process Deck (40):

multi-store model of memory

- proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968)
- early example of information-processing approach


types of memory stores in MSM

- sensory memory
- short term memory
- long term memory


sensory memory store

- storage system that holds unprocessed information for a second or less
- has a store for each type of sensory memory
- filters out useless information and enables us to focus on important details


some types of sensory memory

- iconic (visual)
- echoic (auditory)
- haptic (touch)


duration of memories in the sensory memory store

decays rapidly (1s for iconic, 2-4s for echoic)


capacity of sensory memory store



coding of sensory memory store

info is picked up by the senses



core process responsible for transfer of info from sensory stores to STM store


short term memory store

- a limited-capacity memory system to store info for brief periods of time
- info is lost unless it is rehearsed (via repetition)
- if rehearsed enough, the item can be transferred to the LTM


duration of memories in STM

15-30 seconds (Peterson and Peterson, 1959)


capacity of STM

5-9 units (Miller, 1956)


coding of STM

acoustic (Baddeley, 1966)


long term memory store

- holds a vast quantity and variety of info
- can be stored for long periods of time
- includes personal memories, general knowledge, skills and expertise...
- transferred to STS via retrieval


duration of memories in the LTM

48 years (Bahrick et al, 1975)


capacity of LTM



coding of LTM

primarily semantic (Baddeley, 1966), but can also be acoustic and visual


Define encoding

Key study: Baddeley, 1966
- first and crucial process of creating memories
- allows info to be converted into concepts that can be stored within the brain
- to be recalled later, from the STM or LTM


Define decay

Loss due to passage of time


Define displacement

Loss due to replacement by other memories


Define interference

Rehearsal of memory gets interfered during retrieval


serial position curve

- pattern that emerges when recall is plotted against the position of the words in the list
- occurs due to primary-recency effect

Main studies:
- Baddeley (1966)


Baddeley (1966) - Aim

- to test the primary-recency effect
- investigating encoding in the short term memory store


Baddeley (1966) - Process

Participants were given lists of words that were:
- acoustically similar (cat, mat...)
- acoustically different (pen, cow...)
- semantically similar (boat, ship...)
- semantically different (book, tree...)
Their recall of the words were tested.


Baddeley (1966) - Findings

- better recall of acoustically different than acoustically similar words
- more errors found in reciting acoustically similar words
- slightly better recall of semantically different words than semantically similar words
- the first and last words were better remembered
- results fell into a pattern known as the "serial position curve"


Baddeley (1966) - Conclusion

- the first few words were better remembered because the subject had more time to rehearse them, so they entered the LTS store
- the last few words were better remembered because they were still in the short term memory store
- provides evidence for multi-store model
- info in STS is encoded acoustically because recall is affected by sound of words
- info in LTM is encoded semantically because recall is affected by meaning of words


Baddeley (1966) - Evaluation

- controlled environment to allow researchers to analyze cause-effect
- but lacks ecological validity


evidence supporting MSM theory

- serial position curve and free-recall experiments
- anterograde amnesia


free-recall experiment

- experiment in which participants are given a list of items to memorize
- items are usually presented one at a time
- participants are asked to recall the words, in any order

Study: Glanzer and Cunitz (1966)


serial position curve

- pattern that emerges when recall is plotted against position of word in the list
- occurs due to primary-recency effect


Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) - Aim

investigate how the primary-recency effect was affected by time delays


Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) - Procedure

- participants were shown a list of 15 words to memorize
- they were asked to recall the words in any order

Condition 1: asked to recall immediately after being shown the list
Condition 2: asked to recall 30 seconds after being shown the list


Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) - Findings and Conclusion

- immediate-recall participants showed primary-recency effect
- delayed-recall participants only showed primary effect
- this was due to the first few words being rehearsed more and thus being stored in LTM
- the last few words were stored in the STM, so a time delay would have canceled the recency effect


Example of anterograde amnesia sufferer

Clive Wearing
- a musician that contracted a viral infection encephalitis
- this left him with serious brain damage to the hippocampus, causing memory impairment

He suffers from:
- anterograde amnesia: impairment in ability to remember after a particular incident
- retrograde amnesia: impairment in ability to remember before a particular incident

Main study: Sacks (2007)


Sacks (2007) - Aim

To demonstrate memory processes between STM and LTM with regard to MSM


Sacks (2007) - Findings

- Wearings could talk, read, write, and sight-read music scores
- however, he couldn't transfer the info from STS to LTS
- his memory lasts 7-30 seconds and he cannot form new memories


Sacks (2007) - Conclusion

- STM and LTM are separate memory stores
- memories stored in LTM have a limited duration


Sacks (2007) - Evaluation

- realistic case study with in-depth info
- however, as a case study, it cannot be generalised to the whole population


Strengths of MSM model

- influential model that stimulated further research into memory processes
- the model is still widely accepted and used
- there is considerable evidence demonstrating the existence of separate STM and LTM stores
- considers anterograde amnesia (Sacks, 2007)
- supported by free recall experiements and the primary-recency effect (Glanzer and Cunitz, 1966)
- a lot of studies support this model
- demonstrates differences in encoding, duration, and capacity between stores


Limitations of MSM model

- over-focused on structure, glossing over mechanism (functioning/processing)
- Craik and Watkins (1973): rehearsal may not be that important for transferral to LTM
- Eysenck and Keane (1995): most people rarely actively rehearse info in daily life yet info is being constantly transferred to LTM
- Eysenck and Keane (2010): primarily semantic processing in STM, while LTM uses a wider variety (e.g. visual, acoustic, semantic)
- reductionist; it oversimplifies memory processes
- doesn't account for emotional aspects of memory
- Baddeley and Hitch (1974): STM is more important than Atkinson and Shiffrin's (1968) MSM gives it credit for
- MSM ignores other factors affecting retention (e.g. effort, memory-retaining strategies
- under-emphasises interaction between memory stores


what to write when asked: "Evaluate 1 model/theory of one cognitive process"

- describe MSM (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968): encoding, duration, retrieval
- include background info/reasons for every point
- give your own judgment and opinion supported by evidence
- discussing strengths and limitations
- make clear comments about MSM's significance, usefulness (e.g. how applicable it is, its usefulness in explaining sth), accuracy
- discuss the extent to which the theory can be universally applied – are the explanations culturally- or gender-specific?
- evaluate strengths and limitations of methodology
- judge validity and reliability
- discuss sampling method and relate to the issue of generalizability of findings

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