Memory revision notes for AQA

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  • Created on: 26-10-15 18:01
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Everyone has a different way of encoding information. First information received is stored. This
happens so we can retrieve it at a later date. If we cannot retrieve it, it means we have forgotten
it. The key difference between short-term memory and long-term memory is the amount of
information they can hold (capacity) and how long they can hold it for (duration)
Encoding- information is changed or encoded so that it can be stored. This can be done
acoustically, visually or semantically.
Storage- encoded information is stored in the memory so that it can be accessed at a later date.
Retrieval- accessing information from the LTM/storage
Duration- how long information can be kept in memory
Capacity- how much information can be stored in memory
An explanation of memory put forward in 1968 by Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin is the
multi-store model of memory.
Evaluation of multi-store model
Provides simple explanation of memory processes
Used scientific approach
Other research to support idea of separate memory stores.
Has been criticised for focus on new information, i.e words and numbers, and does not
explain our everyday memory experiences.
Sensory memory- unencoded information received through our senses is held for just a few
secinds before being passed on to STM for encoding
Short-term memory (STM)- contains encoded information from sensory memory. Capacity of 7+/-
2 and duration of about 30 seconds
George Miller claimed that we could hold 7+/-2 pieces of information in STM.
A way to improve memory is chunking. This is where you `chunk' bits of information together and
is commonly used for learning phone numbers.

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Bower and Springston (1970)
Aim: to test effects of chunking
Method: had two groups of participants. Control group was presented with letters such as: FB,
IPH, DTW, AIB and M. Experimental group was given the same letters but they were grouped
differently: FBI, PHD, CIA and IBM. When grouped like this, the letters seem to make `sense' as
they are things we already know, so we automatically `chunk' them.
Results: Experimental group recalled far more letters
Conclusion: researchers concluded that chunking increases capacity of STM.…read more

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They proposed that we process information at two different levels:
deep and shallow.
Craik and Tulving (1975)
Aim: to see if the level at which information is processed has an effect on a person's memory.
Method: Told participants that their study was to test speed of reaction and perception. They
were presented with a word then quickly asked a question about the word. There were three
different levels of processing concept:
1. Structural level of word (I.e is it upper case)
2.…read more

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Method: Participants given `war of the ghosts' to read. Once they read it they were asked to recall
everything they could about the story (over varying amounts of tine).
Results: found that majority of people added their own meaning to the story and reconstructed
their memories to try and make sense of the information.…read more

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Amnesia- memory loss that is usually causes by physical brain injury but can also be caused by a
traumatic, emotional event.
Anterograde amnesia- cannot learn new information but can remember what happened before
Retrograde amnesia- cannot recall events before trauma but can learn new information
Eye witness testimony
Bruce and Young developed a model that suggests how facial perception and our memory of faces
works. There were 3 stages:
1. Focus on individual features of face i.e nose, mouth
2.…read more

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Practical implications of this research is that lawyers/police should avoid asking leading questions
to the witness.
Improving memory
Several ways to `improve' memory are:
Rehearsing information
Encoding information
Giving it more meaning
Encoding information simply means changing information so that it can be stored. Three of the
wyas in which we encode information are by organisation, context and elaboration.
Bousfield investigated whether we organise information in our long-term memory.
Bousfield (1963)
Aim: to see if people organise information in long-term memory.…read more

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Conclusion: recall of information is improved if it occurs in the context which it was learned.
One method of elaboration is method of loci, where you visualise what you have to remember in a
story.…read more


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