AS level - Memory and Forgetting - PSYB2

Theories of remembering and theories of forgetting.

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  • Created on: 28-08-10 11:07
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PSYB2 ­ Revision
Memory and forgetting
Multi-store model of memory
Proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin ­ 1968
Incoming sensory information, Sensory memory (d=up to 4s), if attended to, STM (c=7+/-2 chunks,
d=up to 30s, encoded acoustically), if rehearsed, LTM (c=infinite, d=indefinite, encoded pictorially
and semantically)
Information flows in a linear or sequential way. Each store is unitary they contain no other
working parts.
Supporting empirical evidence
Murdoch (1962) ­ Primacy recency effect
To establish the existence of 2 separate memory stores, presented words at one word per second,
immediately after, free recall test. Found that participants recalled more words at end and beginning
of list. Last words are still in STM and first words have been rehearsed and are in the LTM.
Milner (1996) ­ Brain damage patients
HM, patient who had brain surgery to cure epilepsy leaving him with anterograde amnesia. Access
memory functioning. Was a case study involving observations and in-depth interviews with friends
and family. He could recall events before surgery but couldn't transfer new info from STM to LTM. 2
memory stores must exist and damage to STM prevents transference from STM to LTM.
Evaluative comments
Widely accepted in cognitive psychology, has led to many neurological studies on brain damaged
patients. WORM challenged the view that STM and LTM are unitary stores. According to Baddely and
Hitch it is complex and comprises of separate components. According to LoP model the level at which
the information is processed at has an impact on whether it is transferred and retained in the LTM.
Multi-store model pays little attention to memory processing detail. The multi store model argues
that info flows in a linear and sequential way and that for info to reach the LTM it has to be attended
to and rehearsed in STM. Studies of brain damaged patients do not support this as some patients
whose STM has been neurologically damaged are able to transfer info to LTM.
The working memory model
Proposed by Baddeley and Hitch ­ 1974
Visuo-spatial sketchpad, Central executive, Phonological loop ( phonological store, articulatory
control system)
Not a unitary store, visual, audio spatial tasks can be processed independently allowing multitasking,
not sequential ­ info flows between STM and LTM ­ opposite to MS which proposed unitary stores.

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Central executive: controls and monitors the other components (slave systems). Has limited storage
capacity but can process incoming auditory and visual information, enabling CE to allocate tasks to
slave components. It also has the ability to gather and co-ordinate info from LTM.
Visuo spatial sketchpad: stores visual and spatial info (inner eye) ­ visualising things.…read more

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Supporting Evidence
Craik and Tulving (1975) ­ Auditorially presented participants with 60 words. Each word
accompanied by one of 3 possible questions. Making participants process the words either
semantically, phonetically or structurally. In sudden recall memory test, participants were presented
with 180 words and had to tick the words about which they had been asked questions. 17% of
structural processing were recognised, 37% of phonetic and 65% of semantic processing.…read more

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Supporting evidence
Milner (1996) did a case study of HM. He recalled most events from before the operation but
couldn't store new ones. Although he couldn't remember what he'd eaten for breakfast (episodic),
he could acquire new procedural memories (learned to play tennis
Clive Wearing was a famous musician who suffered from a brain infection that left him with only
moment to memory. However some procedural memories previously stored were still available to
him.…read more

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LTM is caused by decay of the trace through tissue. So if the
knowledge is not used the engram will eventually decay away.
Supporting evidence: Peterson and Peterson (1959) ­ Investigated how the passage of time affects
STM recall. Participants hear one trigram. Immediately after they are instructed to either recall what
they heard or count backwards for a specific time (time delay). This prevents rehearsal. After the
counting they then have to recall the trigram.…read more

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Proactive interference ­ Earlier learning interferes with later learning and prevents you from
memorising that later learning.
Supporting evidence: McGeoch and MacDonald (1931) investigated retroactive interference.
Participants were divided into 4 groups. Each participant was given a list of words. After a delay
period they were given a second list (interference). Group 1 ­ nonsense syllables, group 2 ­ words
totally unrelated to the first set, group 3 ­ similar words in meaning, group 4 ­ no interference list.…read more

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Supporting evidence: Williams (1984) 129 women who according to hospital documentation had
been abused between the ages of 10 months and 12 years were interviewed 17 years later. Results
showed that 38% of the women failed to report the abusive episode. Williams concluded that it was
because the memories had been repressed.
Evaluative comments: There may have been other reasons why the participants didn't disclose their
experiences. It is not accepted ethically.…read more


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