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Outline and evaluate the working memory model. (12marks)
Baddeley and Hitch argued that unlike the multi-store model that has only one store for short-term
memory (STM), the STM actually consists of several complex and active components that all work
together. In the STM, information is transferred and temporarily held before being combined with our
long-term memory (LTM). It is believed that these components work together, however; still store
different types of information separately. This components are; the Central executive, the Visuo-spatial
sketchpad, the Phonological loop and the Episodic Buffer.
In the Central executive the higher mental level of information is processed. Information from all our
senses gather in this attention store later being disrupted into the appropriate `slave system' that work for
this limited capacity store.
The Visuo-spatial sketchpad is also known as the `inner eye'. Here visual or spatial information is stored
such as reading a map or being able to visualise 2D drawing in 3D. It consists of visual coding were patterns
can be recognised and analysing features in terms of their shape, colour and size. This store also has a
The Phonological loop can be split into two stores where the information is constantly travelling between
the two sub-components. The articulatory process is known as the `inner voice' and stores all he speech
related information, for a limited period of time. The Phonological loop of the `inner ear' holds the
information we plan to speak for 2 seconds. It is stored as it is to be spoken. It also stores information we
hear from our environment and stores it acoustically for a limited period of time.
One study to support the working memory model is conducted by Gathercole and Baddeley (1993). They
had two groups. The first group was told to preform two visual tasks together. The tracker task and a
description of an angel set in a hollow `f'. The second group were also told to perform the tracker task, but
to perform a verbal task with this. The results of this experiment provide evidence to prove that there are
separate stores for visual and verbal tasks as the second group concluded that they performed their takes
with less difficulty whereas the first group found it extremely hard to focus on two visual takes as their
information was conflicting with one another in order to be encoded in to the Visuo-spatial sketchpad.
Another study that supports the working memory model is that of a patient referred to as KF, who had
serious brain damage. His problem was with immediate recall of words presented verbally, but not with
visual information. This suggested they had an impaired articulatory loop, therefore meaning that there are
indeed separate stores for STM.
Brain scans can also show physiological support indicating that separate stores of memory are used for
different types of tasks as different parts of the brain are used for verbal and visual data based information,
as suggested by the working memory model.
Another positive remark about the working memory model is that it is more plausible and realistic
compared to the multi-store model as it suggests that the STM holds our information in ties with
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STM is a static store with its fixed duration and capacity rate that may be little affected. The working
memory model gives more in-depth information about the short-term memory store in contrast to
the multi-store model. On the other hand, the working memory model has been hugely criticised for
not being a comprehensive model of memory as it only concerns itself with the short-term
An additional point is that the least information is known about the main component of the model,
the central executive.…read more