The Nature of Memory - Short Term Memory

Revision aid for the short term memory  based on AQA A board. 

It has a simple colour coding system:

Light Green - AO1 Points

Red - AO2 (limitations) 

Vibrant Green - AO2 (strengths) 

Orange - AO2 (Validity)

Blue - AO2 (Application) 

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  • The Nature of Memory: Short Term Memory
  • Duration
    • Capacity
      • Jacobs (1887) created a string of  digits or letters.  Ppts had to recall the 1st , then  1st and 2nd , then  1st, 2nd , 3rd, etc.
        • Findings : Average span of  digits  was 9.3. Meanwhile for letters it was 7.3 items.
        • Issues with  order effects as  digits and letters are repeated
      • Simon (1974)  found that people had a shorter memory span for larger chunks, than smaller chunks
        • Practical Application : Baddeley applied the theory of chunking to Post code
      • Miller  (1956)
        • Miller  conducted a meta-analysis  and found that on average we can remember 7 Item s . He alslo concluded that we can remember  7 letters just  as well as 7 small words (chunking)
      • Cowan (2001)
        • After a meta-analysis Cowan suggested STM  capacity was more  around 4 chunks
        • Vogel et al (2001) supports this when looking at visual information
        • can be used to criticise Miller (1956)
    • Peterson (1959)
      • Method: 24 Students  were given 3 consonants followed by 3 digits (WRT 147). They were then asked to count down from Number in 3s or 4s. when asked to stop the Ppt then had to recall 3 letters
        • There were different retention interval trials (time spent counting) : 3,6,9,12,15,18 seconds
        • Findings:  Ppts  remembered  90% on 3sec trial. At 18sec only 2%
      • Findings:  Ppts  remembered  90% on 3sec trial. At 18sec only 2%
    • Marshal  et al (1997)
      • Can be used to  evaluate  Peterson (1959)
      • Limits demand characteristics
    • Nairne et al (1999)
      • Suggested that Short term memory  could be as long as 96 Seconds
      • Can be used  to  evaluate Peterson (1959)
      • Order Effects may come in to play as groups repeated  items across tasks
  • Not very Long! However may be extended through verbal rehearsal
    • Duration
      • Capacity
        • Jacobs (1887) created a string of  digits or letters.  Ppts had to recall the 1st , then  1st and 2nd , then  1st, 2nd , 3rd, etc.
          • Findings : Average span of  digits  was 9.3. Meanwhile for letters it was 7.3 items.
          • Issues with  order effects as  digits and letters are repeated
        • Simon (1974)  found that people had a shorter memory span for larger chunks, than smaller chunks
          • Practical Application : Baddeley applied the theory of chunking to Post code
        • Miller  (1956)
          • Miller  conducted a meta-analysis  and found that on average we can remember 7 Item s . He alslo concluded that we can remember  7 letters just  as well as 7 small words (chunking)
        • Cowan (2001)
          • After a meta-analysis Cowan suggested STM  capacity was more  around 4 chunks
          • Vogel et al (2001) supports this when looking at visual information
          • can be used to criticise Miller (1956)
      • Peterson (1959)
        • Method: 24 Students  were given 3 consonants followed by 3 digits (WRT 147). They were then asked to count down from Number in 3s or 4s. when asked to stop the Ppt then had to recall 3 letters
          • There were different retention interval trials (time spent counting) : 3,6,9,12,15,18 seconds
      • Marshal  et al (1997)
        • Can be used to  evaluate  Peterson (1959)
        • Limits demand characteristics
      • Nairne et al (1999)
        • Suggested that Short term memory  could be as long as 96 Seconds
        • Can be used  to  evaluate Peterson (1959)
        • Order Effects may come in to play as groups repeated  items across tasks
  • Conclusion: STM only lasts  up to 20 seconds  when rehearsal is prevented
    • Suggested that  ppts not expecting to be tested may forget after 2 seconds
      • Validity:  Lacking  ecological validity as task is unrealistic ( low mundane realism )
        • Additionally the construct validity isn't particularlly strong as the test conducted may also involve an  aspect  of displacement by the counting, thus effecting the memory of syllables
          • 7 +/-  2  Chunks (Millers' Magic Number)

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