Levels of processing

Proposed by Craik and Lockhart


  • The three levels of processing
  • Two types of rehearsal
  • Supporting Evidence for the model
  • Stengths of the model
  • Weaknesses of the model
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Levels of processing
Craik and Lockhart went against the idea of fixed memory stores (Multistore Model) and argued that
it is how deep a piece of information is considered that determines how deep it goes into your
Three levels:
Visual (Shallow level) e.g. IS IT IN CAPITALS
Auditory (intermediate level) e.g. does it rhyme
Meaning (deep level) e.g. does it fit into a sentence
Unlike the MSM the LOP believes there are two types of rehearsal:
1. Maintenance: Rote repetition, repeating the words as they are presented
2. Elaborative: Analysing the meaning of the rehearsed material
Supporting Evidence: Craik and Tulving
Aim To investigate the depts. Of processing by giving the participants tasks from one of
the three levels: Visual, auditory, meaning.
Method It was a repeat measure design. Three conditions. Participants were given 60
words in the form of one of the three levels. After this, unexpectedly they were
given another 120 words and asked to identify to original 60 words.
Results 65% recalled at the deep level
37% recalled at the intermediate level
17% recalled at the shallow level
Conclusion The deeper the processing the better the memory
Evaluation Lacks ecological validity and cannot be applied to everyday life. Also there's an
ethical issue of deception as the participants were not told they would have to
recall the words.
Strengths of the levels of processing
The theory is open to empirical testing and any done so far have supported the theory
In school students are told to learn the meaning of you are more likely to remember it.
Perception, attention and memory are connected. Traces are a result of attentional and
perceptional memory processes.
Weaknesses of the level of processing
The Morris at el study contradicts the model. It found that information processed from sounds
was best recalled whereas Craik and Tulving found those from meaning were best.
Doesn't explain how deeper processing leads to longer memory.
How can we measure how deep we process our information?


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