Multistore model of memory essay

Essay on the multistore model of memory, presented by Atkinson and Shiffrin

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Discuss the multi-store model of memory (12 Marks)
The multi-store model of memory was suggested by Atkinson and Shiffrin, in order to
explain how memory works. Memory is a system which is vital to our survival. For
psychologists, memory covers processes called; encoding, storage and retrieval.
Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) suggested that memory is made up of a series of stores. The
stores differ in their encoding, storage and retrieval characteristics.
Atkinson's and Shiffrin's multi-store model of memory is shown in figure 1.1. The model
contained three key parts to the memory which were the sensory information system, the
short-term memory and the long-term memory.
The sensory information system (SIS) was believed to be the storage for memory held as
a sensation, e.g. a visual image. Sperling (1960) believed in the SIS and to demonstrate its
existence he conducted an experiment. He showed participants three rows of four mixed
numbers and consonants for a ve
ry brief time, then played them a tone (high, medium or low) to prompt them
to recall the top, middle or bottom line. Participants could do this easily if they recalled
immediately but the image faded rapidly, lasting for no longer than one-quarter of a
Alex O'Brien -1-

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In this way, Sperling was also able to show that the SIS holds 5-9 items. It also
showed that the information was quickly lost as the sensory image fades.
The next stage of Atkinson's and Shiffrin's model was the short-term memory (STM).
Information selected for further processing passes from the SIS into the STM. IT is
believed that the STM holds information in the form of images, sounds or meanings.
Information in STM is kept `alive' by rehearsing it.…read more

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One of the most famous amnesia patients is Clive Wearing. His
case supported the existence of the model as Clive couldn't transfer information from his
STM to his LTM. Therefore this shows the apparent existence of the two memory
The multi-store model suggests that there is one LTM store, however, Tulving (1989)
distinguishes between episodic, procedural and semantic memory. All of there ideas were
based on there being specific parts in the LTM that hold different memories such as
skills.…read more

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Such memories are associated with
events, which are unexpected, seen as important, and create strong emotional arousal.
In conclusion, there are many supporting factors to prove the truth in Atkinson's and
Shiffrin's multi-store model of memory. One main supporting factor being Clive Hearing's
case of amnesia. However, there are also some contradicting theories which explore the
idea of memory further. Such as Baddeley and Hitch's working model of memory.…read more



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