Cognitive Psychology: Memory - STM and LTM studies

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  • Created by: Kerry
  • Created on: 11-03-14 19:15
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  • Cognitive Psychology: Memory
    • Definitions
      • Memory - the mental process used to encode, store and retrieve information
      • Encoding - involves changing the information presented into a different form, the main types of encoding are: semantic, visual and auditory
      • Capacity - how much can be stored - STM has a limited capacity of 7 +/-2 items and LTM is potentially unlimited
      • Duration - how long the information lasts in the store - in STM it is around 18-20 seconds and the LTM is potentially forever
      • Storage - this is how information is kept regarding encoding, if it is stored in LTM is can be stored for a very long time
      • Retrieving - recovering information from the memory system, this can be known as recall or remembering
      • Method: series of letters and numbers to participants, had to recall correct order
      • Findings: average participant could recall 9 numbers and 7 letters
      • Conclusion: Capacity of STM was 7 +/-2 items
      • Strenghts: There is more recent research to support these findings, Findings have real life applications e.g. number plates of cars
      • Weaknesses: task was low in mundane realism, lacks historical validity as more than 100 years ago, individual differences may affect results, STM capacity was affected by how information was presented (visually or acoustically)
      • Method: 24 university students, presented with trigram consisting of 3 consonants, they had to remember trigram and count aloud backwards in 3's from a random 3 digit number, recall required after 3,6,9,12,15 or 18 seconds
      • Findings: the longer the interval period between presentation of trigram and recall the lower the percentage of correct recall
      • Conclusion: accuracy of STM decreases with time, therefore information in STM is fragile and easily forgotten
      • Strengths: High levels of control as numbers recited aloud, this reduced extraneous variables as removed chance to rehearse, used repeated measures so participant variables reduced
      • Weaknesses: All uni students so same age and educational ability, individual differences as some trigrams may hold meaning to some individuals
      • Method: 374 participants aged 17-74 years old, shown a yearbook which had three conditions: free recall, name recognition and matching recognition
      • Findings: participants that left up to 34 years previously had 90% accuracy on name and matching recognition, up to 48 had 80% accuracy, free recall gradually decreased with time
      • Conclusion: recall can be accurate over a very long period of time, therefore information can be stored in the LTM for a very long term - created term vLTM
      • Strengths: high in mundane realism, covers wide age range so representative and generalisable to wider population, large sample so less likely to be affected by anomalies
      • Weaknesses: factors other than time may affect recall such as size of year group, popularity, can control if still in contact
      • Method: young service participants given 1/4 sets of words to recall: semantically similar or different, acoustically similar or different, the STM was immediate recall and LTM had a longer retention
        • Weaknesses: low in mundane realism, independent groups so could be affected by participant affects, not generalisable or representative of wider population as only used service men participants
      • Findings: STM participants made mistakes on words and letters acoustically similar e.g. cap and cat or S and X, LTM participants made mistakes on words semantically similar e.g. huge and vast
        • Strengths: High control so less chance that extraneous variables will influence results, independent groups so reduced boredom effects
      • Conclusion: STM is coded acoustically and LTM is coded semantically
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