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Flashcards in Memory Deck (36):


The way in which memory is stored in the various memory stores.



The amount of memory that can be held in a memory store.



The length of time information can be held in memory.


>Short-term memory.

>The limited-capacity memory store.
>Coding is mainly acoustic, capacity is between about 5 - 9 items on average
>duration is between about 18-30 seconds.


>Long-term memory.

>The permanent memory store.
>Coding is mainly semantic (meaning),
>It has unlimited capacity and
>Can store memories up for a lifetime.



Memories that are learnt through hearing. Goes into short-term memory.



Something that has meaning to someone will be coded semantically. Goes into long term memory.


>Baddeley - research on coding.

Group 1 (acoustically similar) - Words sounded similar.
Group 2 (acoustically dissimilar) - Words sounded different.
Group 3 (semantically similar) - Words with similar meanings.
Group 4 (semantically dissimilar) - Words that all had different meanings.
Participants were shown the original words and asked to recall them in the correct order, when they had to do this immediately after hearing the words they tended to do worse with words that sound similar. If participants were asked to recall the word list after 20 minutes, they did worse with the semantically similar words.


>Jacobs - research on capacity.

Developed a technique to measure digit span. The researcher gives, for example, 4 digits and then the participant is asked to recall these in the correct order out loud. If this is correct, the researcher reads out 5 digits and so on until the participant cannot recall the order correctly. This determines the individual's digit span. The mean span for digits across all participants was 9.3 and the mean span for letters was 7.3.


>Miller - research on capacity.

Made observations of everyday practice. He noticed that that things come in sevens: 7 notes on the piano, 7 days in a week, 7 deadly sins and so on. This suggests that the spen or capacity of STM is about 7 items (plus or minus 2). However, Miller also noted that people can recall 5 words as well as they can recall 5 letters. They do this by chunking - grouping sets of digits or letters into units or chunks.


>Margaret and Lloyd Peterson - Research on Duration of STM.

Tester 24 undergraduate students. Each student took part in eight trials On each trial the participant was given a constant syllable to remember and was also given a 3-digit number. The participant was told to count backwards from that 3-digit number until told to stop. The counting backwards was to prevent any mental rehearsal of the constant syllable. On each trial they were told to stop after a different amount of time. This is called the retention interval. It suggests that STM may have a very short duration unless we repeat something over and over again.


>Harry Bahrick and colleagues - Research on Duration of LTM.

>Studied 392 participants from Ohio aged between 17 and 74.
>High school yearbooks were obtained from the participants or directly from the schools.
>Recall was tested in various ways including: photo recognition of 50 photos and free recall tests where participants recalled names of people from their graduating class.
>Participants tested within 15 years of graduation were about 90% accurate.
>After 48 years recall declined about 70% for photo recognition.
>Free recall was less good than photo recognition , after 15 years they were about 60% accurate, after 48 years they were about 30%.


The multi-store model of memory

A representation of how memory works in terms of three stores called sensory register, short term memory, and long term memory. It also describes how information is transferred from one store to another, how it is remembered and how it is forgotten.


The multi-store model of memory - sensory register

>The memory stores for each of our five senses such as vision (iconic store) and hearing (echoic store).
>Coding in the iconic sensory register is visual and in the echoic sensory register it is acoustic.
>The capacity for sensory registers is huge (millions of receptors) and information lasts for a very short time (less that half a second).


Coding, capacity and, duration of STM

>Limited duration - lasts only for a few seconds.
>Limited capacity store - Only a certain number of things can be remembered before they are forgotten again (5-9 items on average.)
>Information is coded acoustically.


Coding, capacity and, duration of LTM

>Duration - It is possible for long term memories to last a lifetime.
>Psychologists believe that long-term memory has an unlimited capacity.
>Information is coded semantically.


Types of LTM - episodic memory

>A long-term memory store for personal events. It includes memories of when the events occurred and the people, objects, places and behaviours involved. Memories from the store have to be retrieved consciously and with effort.
>These memories are ‘time-stamped’
>Memory of a single episode will include several elements that are interwoven.
>You may be able to do this quickly but you will still be conscious of searching for the memory.


Types of LTM - semantic memory

>A long-term memory store for our knowledge of the world. This includes facts and our knowledge of what words and concepts mean. These memories usually also need to be recalled deliberately.
>Often been likened to an encyclopedia or a dictionary.
>Can include things such as applying to university, the taste of certain things.
>Are not time-stamped as it is less personal as they are facts that we all share.
>Constantly being added to.


Types of LTM - procedural memory

>A long-term memory store for our knowledge of how to do things. This includes our memories and learned skills. >We usually recall these memories without making a conscious or deliberate decision.
>How we do things.
>Don’t need conscious awareness.
>Often skills we find hard to explain to someone else.


The working memory model

>A representation of short term memory. It suggests that STM is a dynamic processor of different types of information using sub-units coordinated by a central decision making system.


The working memory model - central executive

>The component of the WMM that coordinates the activities of the three subsystems in memory, it also allocates processing resources to those activities.
>Concerned with the part of the mind that is active when we are temporarily storing and manipulating information.
>Consists of four main components each of which is qualitatively different especially in terms of capacity and coding.


The working memory model - phonological loop

>The component of the WMM that processes information in terms of sound. This is both written and spoken material. It is divided into the phonological store and the articulatory process.
>One of the slave systems
>Deals with auditory information.
>Phonological store - stores the words you hear.
>Articulatory process - allows maintenance rehearsal. >Capacity of this loop is believed to be 2 seconds.


The working memory model - Visuo-spatial sketchpad

>The component of the WMM that processes visual and spatial information in a mental space often called out ‘inner-eye’
>Stores visual and/or spatial information when required.
>Limited capacity of about three or four objects.
>Visual scribe - stores visual data.
>Inner scribe - Records arrangements of objects in the visual fields.


The working memory model - episodic buffer

>Brings together material from the other subsystems into a single memory rather than separate strands. It also provides a bridge between working memory and long-term memory.
>Temporary store of information.
>Integrates the visual, spatial and verbal.
>Records events (episodes) that are happening.
>Capacity of about four chunks.


Explanations for forgetting - interference

>Forgetting because one memory blocks another, causing one or both memories to be distorted or forgotten.
>Focussing on forgetting long-term memory.
>Becomes a problem of access to the memory.
>Makes it harder for us to locate the memory.


Explanations for forgetting - proactive interference

>Forgetting often occurs when older memories, already stored, disrupt the recall of newer memories. The degree of forgetting is greater when the memories are similar.
>Teacher has learnt so many names in the past that she finds difficulty in learning names of her current class.


Explanations for forgetting - retroactive interference

>Forgetting occurs when newer memories disrupt the recall of older memories already stored. The degree of forgetting is yet again greater when the memories similar.
>Teacher has learnt so many new names that she finds it hard to recall names of old students.


Retrieval failure

A form of forgetting. It occurs when we don't have the necessary cues to access a memory. The memory is available but not accessible unless a suitable cue is provided.



A ‘trigger’ of information that allows us to access a memory. Such cues may be meaningful or may be indirectly linked by being encoded at the time of learning. Cues may be external or internal.


Retrieval failure theory

>The reason why we forget is because we have insufficient cues.
>When information is initially placed in memory, associated cues are stored at the same time.
>If these cues are not accessible at the time of recall, it may appear to have been forgotten.


Encoding specificity principle.

>Researched by Tulving.
>If a cue is to help us recall information it has to be present at encoding and at retrieval.
>If the cues are available at encoding and retrieval are different there will be some forgetting.


Eye witness testimony

The ability of people to remember events such as accidents and crimes that they have themselves observed. Accuracy of EWT can be affected by factors such as misleading information, leading questions and anxiety.


Misleading information

Incorrect evidence given to the eyewitness usually after the event. It can take many forms such as leading questions and post-event discussion between co-witness and/or other people.


Leading question

A question which, because of the way it is phrased, suggests a certain answer.


Post-event question

Occurs when there is more than one witness to an event. Witness may discuss what they have seen with co-witness or other people. This may affect recall of the event.


Affect of questions on eyewitness testimony.

Loftus and Palmer arranged for students to watch film clips of car accidents and then gave them questions about the accidents. In the critical question, participants were asked to describe how fast the cars were travelling: ‘About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?’ This is a leading question because the verb ‘hit’ suggests the speed at which the car was moving. There were five groups of participants, each of which were given a different verb in the critical question. One group had hit another had contacted, bumped, collided, smashed.