Cognitive Psychology - Models of memory

Notes based on the essential models of memory for the edexcel specification:

  • Levels of processing (Craik and Lockhart (1972)
  • Multi-store model of memory (Atkinson and Shiffrin 1968, 1971)
  • Working memory model (Baddeley and Hitch 1974)
  • Reconstructive memory (Bartlett, 1932)
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Levels of processing (Craik and
Lockhart 1972)
· It was proposed that there are two different types of
· Type 1 is maintenance rehearsal where we rehearse
information to remember it for a short time but it is unlikely
that a strong memory will be created.
· Type 2 is elaborative rehearsal which refers to deeper
consideration of information, giving it meaning, which
results in a longer lasting memory.…read more

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LOP ­ Information processing.
· Proposed we have a central processor which handles all
kinds of information and determines how it is processed.
· If information is distinct and relevant to us we are more
likely to process it at a deeper level rather than
information which is irrelevant to us.
· If information is processed at a deeper level it is more
likely to be retained as a memory.…read more

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Craik and Tulving (1975)
· Conducted a laboratory experiment to determine whether recall
is affected by the way information is processed.
· Participants were required to answer yes or no to a question
they were asked about a word shown.
· There were three types of question asked that determined how
deeply the word was processed:
1. Structural processing of the word (the physical structure e.g.
upper or lower case)
2. Phonetic processing of the word (the sound the word made)
3. Semantic processing (the meaning of the word.
· They found that words processed at a semantic level were
more likely to be recalled.
· Therefore this study provides clear support for the LOP model
of memory as deeper semantic processing leads to better
recall.…read more

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Evaluation of LOP
Advantages · Many variables determine whether a
durable memory is achieved so it is
difficult to establish what is meant by
· Hyde and Jenkins (1973) found that
processing the meaning of the word depth of processing in a single given
increased memorability. instance.
· It has real life application, it has been · Morris et al (1977) found that
used to enhance learning and participants recalled more words that
revision and also applied to learning were processed phonetically than
language and reading.
semantically which provides evidence
· It accounts for the diversity of
memory stored. The multi store against the model.
model assumed that anything · It can only be used to explain recall in
remembered for a minute or longer is explicit memory. It does not affect recall
passed into the LTM but does not from implicit memory.
consider that some memories are
strong and some weak. The LOP · Descriptive rather than explaining how
explains differences in memory memory works.
durability by referring to depth of · Does not account for all learning, giving
processing. something meaning is not the only way
we can leave a durable memory trace.…read more

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Multi store model of memory (Atkinson
and Shiffrin 1968, 1971)
Describes memory as existing in three different stores:
1. Sensory memory which acts as a buffer for all information in
the environment that enters our system. It holds sensory
information for a brief period until we decide to give it
attention and transfer it into short term memory.
2. Short term memory is a limited store for information that has
been attended too. It is believed to hold around 7+ or ­ 2
items for around 18-30 seconds. Rehearsal is used to hold
information for longer duration and makes it more likely that it
will be transferred to the long term memory.
3. Long term memory has potentially unlimited capacity and can
hold memories for a few minutes or years.
It can be argued that this is a simplistic view of what is actually a
complex memory system.…read more

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