Alternatives to the MSM model

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Levels of Processing

Put forth by...Craik and Lockhart (1972)

They said that it's the level at which information is processed that makes a difference to the likelihood of retaining it rather than rehearsal.

So, when a person recieves information depending on how much attention is paid to it and how deeply it is thought about will determine how much is remembered.

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Different Levels of Processing

Shallow and deep.

For infomation to be transferred into long term memory (LTM) it needs to be thought about, understood and have meaning. This deeper level of processing makes the memory stronger and long lasting.

Other levels of processing include...

  • Structural level: which is very shallow such as simply glancing at words
  • Phonetic level: which is still shallow and may include what words sound like
  • Sematic level: is type of deep processing such as thinking of the meaning of words

If something has meaning it is semantically processed at a deeper level so better remebered.

Organisation is another form of deep processing as it too creates a long lasting memory.

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Evidence for Semantic

Elias et al (1973)- asked participants to work through a list of words, performing different types of processing on each word.

When later asked to recall the words, the particpants recalled significantly more words which had been semantically processed, providing evidence for the semantic level of processing.

Hyde and Jenkins (1973)- also supported this finding higher recall for words that required semantic processing.

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Mandler (1967)- did research into organisation by asking particpants to sort cards into piles and then recall what was on the words.

Recall was best for those who used the most categories suggesting the act of organisation makes information more rememberable.

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Evaluating levels of processing

  • The Levels of Processing was the first to investigate the processes that occur when memories are laid down. 
  • It's more simplistic than the Multi-Store Model as it successfully explains why somethings are better remembered than others others. 
  • However, it can be criticised for being descriptive rather than explanatory, as it fails to explain why deeper processing leads to better recall. 
  • It also makes no distinction between STM and LTM, and there is a lot of evidence which suggests that there are two distinctive memory processes such as research from Beardsley (1997) and Squire (1992). 
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Working Memory Model

Another alternative to the MSM is the WMM which was established by Baddeley and Hitch (1974).

Unlike the MSM, the WMM has main components which are...

  • Central Executive
  • Phonological Loop
  • Visco-Spatial Sketchpad
  • Episodic Buffer 
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Central Executive

This directs attention to partiular tasks, determining how the resources are allocated to tasks. 

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Phonological Loop

This deals with auditory information and preserves the order of information. 

Baddeley Subdivided this loop into the phonological store (which holds the words you hear) and the articulatory process (which is used for words that are heard or seen). 

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Visco-Spatial Sketchpad

This is used when you have to plan a spatial task 

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Episodic Buffer

This is a general store and has limited capacity. 

It combines information from the central executive, phonological loop, the visco-spatial sketchpad and Long Term Memory. 

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Baddeley et al (1975)

Did supporting research and demonstrated the existence of the visco-spatial sketch pad. 

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Research into WMM

Research into the WMM show that if you do two things at the same time which are both visual tasks, you perform them less well than if you perform them sperately. 

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Evaluating WMM

  • The WMM is limited in that it considers only STM and not LTM
  •  because little is known about the central executive it's not very reliable and leads to confusion and this is the most important part of the system. 
  • The concept of the WMM has been used in diagnosing mental illness e.g. Park at al (1999) reviewed a number of studies and concluded that problems in WMM were a key distinction between normal individuals and patients with schizophrenia.
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To conclude, both theories of Levels of Processing and WMM have evidence which supports them. 

However, they both lack clarity and understandings and don't relate to the original theory of the MSM which we have large amounts of supporting evidence for. 

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