Cognitive psychology

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Working Memory Model

Baddely & Hitch (1974) - proves there is more than one component to STM

Central executive --> control system, monitors, coordinates and directs the operation of the slave systems (visio-spatal, eposodic, phonological), allocates attention, no storage capacity

Visio-spatal scratch pad --> works as 'inner eye' - responsible for visual slatal coding (writing pad for remembering data), information only temporarily stored here, Logue (1995) suggested it could be divided into a visual cache (store) and inner scribe

Eposodic buffer --> general store - up to 18 secs (STM), limited capacity, intergrated information from slave systems + LTM

Phonological loop --> 2 parts: articulatory control system (rehursal of sounds - inner voice) responsible for acoustic encoding and phonological store (holds the words you hear - inner ear), limited capacity

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Evaluating the WMM


  • attempts to explain how memory functions - phonological loop helps us understand complex text and learn vocab e.g. not operative in some with dyslexia.
  • PET brain scans show different parts of the brain are used whilst undertaking verbal and visual tasks - correspond with components of WMM.
  • rehursal not the only means of transferring information - only a component within articulatory loop. also a extrememly influential model
  • explains STM in terms of temporary storage and active processing - unlike MSM
  • Brain damaged patient KF could remember visual but not verbal stimuli --> STM must be at least 2 systems --> disproves MSM


  • doesn't explain changes in processing ability that occur as a result of practice time
  • vagueness of central exective means it can be used to explain almost anything - bad
  • capacity of Central exective has never been measured
  • only concerns itself with STM - not a comprehensive model of memory
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Multi-Store Model

Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968)

Sensory memory - encoding--> modality free (works in different 'languages'), depends on the sensory organ involved (all 5 senses) capacity--> 4 chunks of info duration--> less than a second

STM - encoding--> acoustic/visual capacity--> 7+-2 chunks of info (Miller 1956) duration--> up to 18 secs

LTM- encoding--> semantic (meaning) capacity--> potentially unlimited (no upper limit) duration-->  potentially a lifetime

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Evaluating the MSM


  • strong evidence of three qualitively different stores, suggesting the basis is sound
  • does provide an account of memory in terms of structure (three stores) and process (attention and verbal rehearsal). However has been criticised for focusing too much on structure and too little on process
  • has clear predictions about memory, which means psychologists can conduct studies to test it. Strength bc they need to be conducting research to find out about human behaviour


  • it oversimplifies memory structures and processes - is too simplistic
  • Hyde & Jenkins (1973) --> surprise recall at the end of rating the pleasantness of some words meant that incidental learning had occured, showing that rehursal is not the only method of transferring information from STM to LTM.
  • Baddeley et al (1973) --> participents could visualise the F whilst looking at the pointer with a moving spot of light but used different sensory modalities, suggesting 2 different stores to STM
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