Memory - AS AQA

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  • Memory
    • Coding, capacity and duration
      • Coding- The format in which info is stored in the various memory stores
        • Alan Baddeley (1966)
          • He gave different lists of words to 4 different groups of participants.
            • Acoustically similar.
            • Acoustically dissimilar.
              • When the participants recalled STM, they did worse with acoustically similar words. After the LTM recall (20 mins) they did worse with semantically similar words.
                • Acoustically similar.
                • This shows that LTM is coded semantically and STM is coded acoustically.
            • Semantically similar.
              • When the participants recalled STM, they did worse with acoustically similar words. After the LTM recall (20 mins) they did worse with semantically similar words.
                • This shows that LTM is coded semantically and STM is coded acoustically.
            • Semantically dissimilar.
            • Evaluation
              • Artificial stimuli
                • Stimuli used in Baddeley's study was artificial rather than meaningful. So we should be cautious when generalising the findings to other memory tasks in real life.
        • Capacity- The amount of info that can be held in a memory store.
          • Joseph Jacobs (1887)
            • Developed a technique to measure digit span.
              • He gave participants 4 digits to remember and increased the amount of digits by one every time the participants recalled them correctly.
                • Mean span- Items- 9.3 Letters- 7.3
            • Evaluation
              • Lacking validity.
                • Jacob's study lacked adequate control as it was conducted so long ago. Confounding variables were not controlled.
                  • But other recent studies back up his results.
          • George Miller (1956)
            • He made observations of everyday things in life that come in 7's- such as 7 days of the week.
              • Suggesting the capacity of STM is about 7 items. (+/- 2 items)
                • But people can recall words not just letters and they do this by chunking info.
            • Evaluation
              • Not so many chunks
                • Miller may have over estimated the capacity of STM.
                  • Cowan (2001)
                    • Reviewed other research and concluded that the capacity of STM was only about 4 chunks. Suggesting the lower end of Miller's estimate (5 items) is more appropriate.
        • Duration- The length of time info can be held in memory.
          • Duration of LTM- Harry Bahrick (1978)
            • Studied 392 people. Aged between 17 and 74. High school yearbooks were obtained.
              • Recall was tested in 2 ways. 1.) Photo recognition test consisting of 50 photos. 2.) Free recall test where participants recalled all the names of their graduating class.
                • Photo recognition- participants tested within 15 years of graduating were 90% accurate. After 48 years this dropped to 70%.
                  • This shows that duration in LTM lasts a very long time.
                    • Free recall- participants tested within 15 years of graduating were 60% accurate. After 48 years this dropped to 30%.
                • Free recall- participants tested within 15 years of graduating were 60% accurate. After 48 years this dropped to 30%.
            • Evaluation
              • Higher external validity
                • This study has a higher external validity because the material was real life memories.
                  • However, confounding variables play a part - participants could have studied their yearbook for years.
          • Duration of STM - Peterson and Peterson (1959)
            • 24 participants. 8 trials. On each trial each participant was given a trigram (3 random letters). They were also given a 3 digit number to count backwards in 3's or 4's to prevent mental rehearsal of the trigram.
              • On each trial they were told to stop counting after different amounts of time - 3,6,9,12,15 or 18 seconds.
                • This was the retention interval. The longer the interval the less % of correct recalls of the trigrams.
                  • This shows STM has a very short duration unless rehearsed.
            • Evaluation
              • Meaningless stimiuli
                • The stimulus material (trigrams) was artificial and does not reflect real life. Therefore the study lacked internal validity.
                  • But we do remember meaningless things like phone number in real life.
      • The multi-store model of memory
      • Types of long term memory
      • The working memory model

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