Evaluating the Multi-store model of memory


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Sperling (SM Capacity and Duration

  • Lab experiment
  • Used a grid of 12 consonants (no vowels so couldn't make acronyms, the consonants must lack meaning to stay in SM).
  • Grid flashed on a screen for half a second.
  •  2 conditions: 

  •  Condition 1;Aim: Test capacity of SM - Procedure: PPS had to remember as many letters as possible from grid. - Findings: PPS could remember 3-4 letters out of 12. - Conclusion: SM has LIMITED capacity. 

  • Condition 2; - Aim: See if duration interferes with capacity of SM. - Procedure: Sperling flashed a similar grid BUT once PPS had seen the grid they heard either a high tone, medium tone or a low tone. Depending on which tone they heard they had to recall the respective row (high, medium, low row). *NOTE - the tone was played after PPS saw the grid to stop them from focussing on the one line they had to recall. - Findings: PPS could remember 3-4 letters from the row paired with the tone. - Conclusion: duration interfers with capacity.
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Conrad's acoustically similar letters (STM Encodin

  • Conducted a study using repeatead measures design (same ppl).
  • In first condition -pps had to recall, in order, letters which sounded the same (accoustically similar) e.g. B, G, C, T, D, V
  • In second condition - pps had to recall, in order, letters which sounded different (accoustically dissimilar) e.g. F, J, X, M, S, R
  • Found that pps confused the order of similar sounding letters which suggests pps were trying to remember the letters by repeating them subvocally in their heads so were getting them muddled becuase they sound similar.
  • Conclusion: suggests that encoding in STM is happening accoustically (i.e. ppl use sound to store info in STM).
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Baddeley's acoustically & semantically similar wor

  • Investigated whether LTM encoding is acoustic or semantic.
  • There were 4 groups (independent samples design)
  • 1) Acoustically similar group (learned a set of letters which sound the same)
  • 2) Acoustically dissimilar (learned a set of letters which sounded different)
  • 3) Semantically similar (learned a set of words with similar meaning)
  • 4) Semantically dissimilar (learned a set of words with different meaning)
  • After a 20min break asked to recall the words (Now from LTM) they had learned.
  • Recall rates for acoustic groups  were the same, suggesting acoustic encoding is not important in LTM.
  • Only 55% of semantically similar words were recalled
  • Yet 85% of semantically dissimilar were reacalled
  • Conclusion: Suggesting semantic encoding processes had ben interferred during memorizing the words of similiar meaning. Thus encoding is semantic in LTM.
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