Short Term Memory, Long Term Memory, Multi-Store Model of Memory, Working Memory Model, Eye Witness Testimony, Cognitive Interview, Strategies for Memory Improvement

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  • Created on: 04-11-10 16:28
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Short Term Memory (STM)
Definition: Your memory of events in the present or immediate past.
Duration: 18 seconds
Evidence: Peterson and Peterson (1959)
Aim: To find out how long information remains in the STM without rehearsal
Procedures: 24 students heard trigrams over headphones. After each trigram they
counted backwards in 3s (distractive task to prevent rehearsal) for a different
amount of time (retention interval). They then attempted to recall the trigram.
Findings: The longer the retention interval, the less trigrams recalled.
Conclusions: The duration of the STM is approx 18 seconds but with a distractive
task this is shorter.
Criticisms: Lacks mundane realism and as sample was all students, it lacks ecological
validity. Also some trigrams may mean something to some people.
Capacity: 7 + or ­ 2 chunks
Evidence: Jacobs (1987)
A: To find out how much information is retained in the STM
P: Participants were shown lines of digits or letters, each line one digit/letter longer
than the previous line. They had to recall the digits/numbers.
F: The average span for numbers was 9.3 and for letters were 7.3.
C: The STM has a capacity of 7 + or ­ 2. Participants remembered numbers more
accurately than letters. They could also remember more if they used `chunking'.
C: Lacks mundane realism. Definition of a `chunk' is not clear.
Encoding: Mainly acoustically
Evidence: Baddely (1966)
A: To investigate the effects of acoustic and semantic coding in STM.
P: Participants were given lists of words which were acoustically similar and dissimilar.
F: Participants had more difficulty remembering acoustically similar words.
C: STM encodes acoustically (acoustically similar words confuse the STM).
C: Lacks mundane realism. Bandimote et al found that participants used visual
encoding in STM if they were given a visual task and prevented from doing any verbal
rehearsal in the retention interval.
Long Term Memory (LTM)
Definition: Your memory of events that have happened in the more distant past
Duration: 2 hours - lifetime
Evidence: Bahrick et al (1975)
A: To find out how long information is retained in the LTM
P: People who had left school between 1 and 3 years ago had to perform 3 tasks:
1) free recall ­ remember as many classmates as possible without a prompt
2) recognise names of classmates

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F: Free recall was poor in all participants. Name recognition was good in all
participants. Visual recognition was best in all participants. Results generally
decreased with time since leaving school.
C: Visual and verbal recognition are easier to recall than free recall. Long term
memories remain for a VERY long time; however they do generally decrease over
C: Participants may have reviewed classmates before study. Although the researchers
may not have had permission to use the classmates' photos (ethical infringement).…read more

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For duration, capacity and encoding, see previous notes
Information: In STM decays without maintenance rehearsal or is displaced when
new information enters
Evidence: Beardsley (1997) found from fMRI that different parts of the brain are
active during the use of STM (prefrontal cortex) and LTM (hippocampus). This
proves that they are two separate stores.
KF has normal long term recall, but problems with short term recall, further
proving that STM and LTM are separate.…read more

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Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad
Temporary memory for visual information
Encodes and maintains visual information; visual ­ what things look like,
spatial ­ relationship between things.…read more

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Factors affecting EWT
Leading questions
Misleading questions
Leading questions
Evidence: Loftus and Palmer (1974)
A: To investigate the effect of leading questions on the accuracy of EWT
P: 45 students were split into 5 groups and watched 7 different traffic accident films.
After each film, participants were given a questionnaire including the question `how
fast were cars going when they ___ each other? Each group was given a different
verb from smashed, collided, hit, bumped, and contacted.…read more

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F: Majority of studies suggested that high levels of stress negatively impact on the
accuracy of EWT
C: Anxiety decreases the accuracy of EWT
Evidence: Christian and Hubinette (1993)
A: To investigate the effect of anxiety on the accuracy of EWT
P: 58 real witnesses to bank robberies were questioned.
F: Witnesses who had been threatened (very high anxiety) were more accurate in
their recall and remembered more details than those who had not been threatened
(lower anxiety).…read more

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P: 651 adults were stopped in public places and asked to recall the physical
characteristics of a woman they had just spoken to
F: Younger adults were more confident in recall but there was no significant
difference in accuracy
C: Age doesn't affect accuracy of recall in adults
Evidence: Memon et al (2003)
A: To investigate the effect of age on EWT
P: Young participants (aged 16-33) and older participants (aged 60-82) were given an
identification task where they had to recall the information 35…read more

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Report Everything
Interviewee encouraged to report every single detail of the event, even if it
seems irrelevant
While this produces a lot of irrelevant material, details may be learnt that
would otherwise have been excluded
Mental Reinstatement of the Original Context
Interviewee encouraged to mentally recreate the environment of the original
This is based on the principle that if there is consistency between the actual
incident and the recreated situation, there is an increased likeliness that
witnesses will recall more details and be more…read more

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Strategies for Memory Improvement
Verbal Mnemonics
Word or sentence that is formed from the first letters of other words
E.g. ROY G. BIV = Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
Poem or sentence where the first letter in each line or word forms the item
to be remembered
E.g. My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets = Mercury, Venus,
Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
Groups of words with an identity and rhyme
E.g.…read more


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