Cognitive Psychology - Memory

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The Multi-Store Model of Memory

Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968)

Stage One - Information enters the sensory memory, which is bombarded with over 11 million pieces of information per day. Brief duration (up to one second).

Stage Two - Attention to items in sensory memory saves them to Short Term Memory (STM). Short duration (up to thirty seconds). Can store 7 pieces of information, +/- two. Information is mainly ACOUSTICALLY encoded.

Stage Three - REHERSAL of items in STM transfers them to the Long Term Memory (LTM). Infinite duration and unlimited capacity. Information is mainly SEMANTICALLY encoded. Theoretically, every piece of information in LTM can be RETRIEVED and brought back into STM.

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Short Term Memory (STM)

Glanzer and Cunitz (1966) - FIRST and LAST few words out of twenty were recalled, showing that there is STM and LTM (the first few TRANSFERRED into LTM and last few stayed in STM).

Conrad (1964) - Letters sounding the same were most confused when attemtping to RECALL a STRING of them, showing that short term memory encodes ACOUSTICALLY

Jacobs (1890) - His investigation into serial digit span showed the average digit span to be just over 9, and the average span for letters to be just over 7, showing that the average span of STM is between 5 and 9 items.

Peterson and Peterson (1959) - Used trigrams and different RETENTION TIMES to test duration of STM, asked them to count down from three digit number in threes. Fewer mistakes with longer retention time, showing STM has a LIMITED CAPACITYand DURATION.

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Long Term Memory (LTM)

Long term memory encodes SEMANTICALLY - This is shown through ERRORS in our recall. If we try to recall the word barn we may say hut or shed instead, not burn, because of their MEANINGS, not how they sound.

Long term memory has an INFINITE CAPACITY  - Impossible to measure or test, but so far no one has reached their maximum limit!

Bahrick et al - Participants, who had either left University 15 or 48 years previously, were asked to RECALL names of classmates, then identify pictures of classmates amongst others, and then to recognise names amognst others. Although those who left 15 years previously had a higher rate of recall, others still had between 30% and 80% recall, showing long term memory has a LIFETIME DURATION.

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Strengths/Weaknesses of Multi-Store Model

Strength One - Offers a good explanantion for the SERIAL POSITION EFFECT, Glanzer and Cunitz's study showed the PRIMARY-RECENCY EFFECT.

Strength Two - Has a lot of EVIDENCE to support features of the model (Conrad, Jacobs, Peterson & Peterson, Bahrick et al).

Weakness One - Research suggests there isn't one single LTM store containing all information; EPISODIC memory, SEMANTIC memory and PROCEDURAL memory.

Weakness Two - Shallice & Warrington (1870) showed REHEARSAL is NOT A NECESSARY part of RECALLING information from LTM to STM. Brain damaged patients with no STM  could recall events from their LTM that had happened post-accident.

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Working Memory Model

Baddeley and Hitch (1974)

Stage One - SENSORY input from the world around us.

Stage Two - VISUAL and SPATIAL information transferred into VISUOSPATIAL SKETCHPAD, ACOUSTIC and VERBAL info transferred into PHONOLOGICAL LOOP. CENTRAL EXECUTIVE has "managerial function" and provides a LINK with the LTM.

Stage Three - Information from STM is transferred into LTM, which is divided into a VERBAL STORE and a VISUAL STORE.

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Strengths/Weaknesses of Working Memory Model

Strength One - Shepard and Feng (1972) support VISUOSPATIAL SKETCHPAD, time taken to IMAGINE folding a cube from a net was similar to how long it actually took. 

Strength Two - Cohen et al (1997) showed tasks needing DIFFERENT parts of WMM used different areas of the BRAIN, shows there are SEPERATE systems at work.

Weakness One - Many UNKNOWN things about the Central Executive, e.g. said to be MODALITY FREE but unclear how this is true.

Weakness Two - Working Memory described as a TEMPORARY holding area for information going into LTM, but it's UNCLEAR how communication between different kinds of memory takes place.

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Eyewitness Testimony

Information given by an individual about a particular event. 

Most commonly associated with criminal acts or accidents. 

Cutler and Penrod (1995) say about 4.500 people are wrongly convicted in the US per annum because of fautly eyewitness testimony accounts.

Recall of events is generally a RECONSTRUCTION based on fragments of INFORMATION, combined with KNOWLEDGE, EXPECTATIONS and COMMON SENSE used to fill in gaps.

Loftus & Palmer (1974) found eyewitness testimony can be changed through WORDING of questions, e.g. watching a CAR CRASH or being asked about BROKEN GLASS.

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Influence of Anxiety on Eyewitness Testimony

Yerkes-Dodson Law - RECALL and ANXIETY have a CORRELATION, low and high anxiety mean low recall, medium anxiety means high recall.

Peters (1988) -  Participants recalled the research better than the nurse due to the anxiety caused by the injection being given.

Loftus (1987) - Participants will focus on the weapon an offender is carrying than the offender. HOWEVER, shown by Mitchell et al (1986) same effect occurs if offender carries celery; anxiety related to the novelty of the object, not the weapon.

Yuille and Cutshall (1986) - Natural experiment, participants recall not affected by anxiety of situation (a shooting), they stuck to original versions of events and weren't affected by leading questions. 

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Influence of Age on Eyewitness Testimony

Feben (1985) - Recall of SPECIFIC objects by children similar to adults, but accuracy of recall of THEMES/SEQUENCES was significantly lower.

Saywitz (1987) - Children EMBELLISH stories more than adults, young children accurate in recall of OBJECTS and EVENTS.

Goodman and Schaaf (1997) - Children greatly influenced by LEADING questions. COMPLEX questions and INTIMIDATING interviewrs leads to innacurate testimony.

Ceci, Ross, Toglia (1987) - Those aged 3-5 most susceptible to leading questions.

Cohen and Faulkner (1989) - Elderly eyewitness are more likely to be influenced by INNACURACIES than younger witnesses. Contradicted by Coxon and Valentine (1997). 

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Cognitive Interviews

Designed to increase accuracy of eyewitness testimony, accepts information in memory is organised and memories are context-dependent.

-Reinstate the context: Winess taken back to situation, asked to imagine the surroundings and remember how they felt.

-Change the sequence of events: Witness asked to recall the incident multiple times with events in different orders.

-Change perspective: Witness asked to recall events from viewpoint of another witness.

-Report everything: Witness asked to recall everything possible, despite its releveance.

Relies on good communication between interviewer and witness.

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Improving Memory

Strategies for improving memory known as MNEMONICS.

-Method of Loci: Visual a place, like your house, and "hang"objects in areas of place. Visually walk around place to recall items. Supported by CROVITZ and YESAVAGE AND ROSE.

-Narrative Chaining: Work a list of words into a short story, the words become associated with one another within story. BOWER AND CLARK show it's useful for IMPROVING RETENTION.

-Keyword Technique: Developed by Atkinson (1985).Used to remember words in a foreign language. Three stages: Acoustic stage, English language sound recognised in foreign word, visual image stage, image formed to combine foreign word with English language sound, rehearsal stage, image rehearsed into LTM, image acts as cue to recall English translation when we hear foreign word. 

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