Multi-store Model of Memory

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  • Multi-store Model of Memory (Atkinson + Shiffrin)
    • Memory consists of 3 separate stores
      • Sensory memory: buffer for all information that bombards our perceptual system
        • if it is attended to, it can be transferred to short-term memory
      • Short-term memory: limited store for attended information. can hold around 7 pieces of information for around 18-30 seconds
        • rehearsal is used to hold information for a longer duration and to transfer it into long-term memory
      • Long-term memory: if information in short-term is rehearsed enough it will go here.
        • potentially infinite capacity and can hold memories for a few minutes or many years
    • Evaluation: strengths
      • it can explain the primacy /recency effect because it shows how the first words are rehearsed and enter long term memory
        • the last words are held in short term memory, whilst the middle words are displaced
      • can explain anterograde amnesia, as the stores are separate so short term memory can function without long term memory
      • Sperling: demonstrated the large capacity of sensory memory but also that it decays rapidly
    • Evaluation: weaknesses
      • considered by some to be too simplistic; it may be that long term memory has several separate storage areas


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