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Describe and Evaluate the Multi-Store Model of Memory (12 marks)
Information from the environmental stimulus is stored in the sensory memory via the five
sense. The sensory memory (SM) has a very short duration and capacity.
If attention is paid, information will transfer to the short-term memory (STM). The STM has
a duration of 20-30 seconds which was tested by Peterson and Peterson with trigrams. Its
capacity was tested by Miller and was found to be between five to nine items. The STM
encodes acoustically and this was tested by Baddeley. Maintenance rehearsal needs to be
done in order to keep information in the STM.
If elaborative rehearsal is done, information will transfer to the long-term memory (LTM).
The LTM has a long lasting duration which was discovered by Bahrick et al, its capacity is
unlimited and this was tested by Wagenaar. Lastly, the LTM encodes semantically and this
was discovered during Baddeley's experiment.
A strength of the model is that it is supported by case studies such as HM. HM has brain
surgery to relieve epilepsy but found that after, information from the STM could not be
transferred to the LTM. As there is real-life evidence to support, the model is more
ecologically valid and reliability is increased. This evidence supports that LTM and STM are
separate stores which is included in the model.
A strength of the model is that it also has biological evidence of the separate stores in PET
and MRI scans. Patients in the past have completed tasks that use the STM and LTM
separately and during the scan different areas of the brain showed activity. This supports
the idea of STM and LTM being separate components which increases the reliability of the
A weakness of the model is that research has been done in a laboratory. This means that
evidence could lack ecological validity as the environment was artificial and participants had
to complete unlikely real life tasks. This means that results cannot be applied to a real life
setting which reduces the credibility of the model as evidence is hard to apply to everyday