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  • Created on: 16-02-15 10:41


DURATION - how long a memory can last before it is no longer available

  • STM -> mesured in seconds and minutes
  • LTM -> unlimited

Case studies for LTM duration:

  • Shepard - showed pp's 612 memorable pictures, after 1 hour = 100% recognition, after 4 months = 50% recognition 
  • Bahrick et al - showed pp's their high school year book after 48 years = 70% accurate

 Case study for STM duration:

  • Peterson and Peterson - 24 students, told a consonant syllable and a 3 digit number, counted down in 3s or 4s in retention intervals of 3,6,9,12,15,18 seconds, asked to recall syllable. 90% recall after 3 seconds, 2 % after 18 seconds = STM lasts around 20 seconds 
  • EVALUATION: Marsh et al -> STM duration is shorter (pp's relied on more than STM - knew they were going to be asked to recall), Naire et al -> STM duration is longer ( items recalled after 96 seconds, pp's were asked to recall same items instead of different items = no replacement)
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Capacity and Encoding

CAPACITY - A measure of how much can be held in memory

  • STM -> 7+/-2 chunks
  • LTM -> unlimited

Capacity of STM: (can be assessed using digit span technique)

  • Jacobs - average span for numbers 9.3 items, letters were 7.3
  • Miller - span for immediate memory is 7, can recall 5 letters and 5 numbers using chunking
  • Simon - memory span shorter for larger chuncks than smaller chunks
  • EVALUATION - Cowan -> STM limited to 4 chunks, Vogel -> capacity of STM for visual information is limited to 4 items

ENCODING - The way information if changed so that is can be stored in memory

  • STM -> acoustic or visual
  • LTM -> semantic 
  • Baddeley - gave pp's acoustically similar or dissimilar and semantically similar or dissimilar words, found that acoustic similarity decreased STM recall and semantic similarity decreased LTM recall
  • EVALUATION - Brandimore -> visual encoding used in STM if given visual task and verbal reherasal prevented, Frost -> visual encoding used in LTM as well
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The Multi-store Model (Atkinson and Shiffrin)

Sensory memory/store:

  • Composed of several sense stores and corresponding areas in the brain
  • Information from sensory store transfers into STM by attention 


  • Information in fragile state, decays if not rehearsed
  • If new information enters STM, original information is displaced because of limited capacity


  • Information from STM moves into LTM by maintanance rehearsal (largely verbal)
  • The more information is rehearsed, the better it is remembered 


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The Working Memory Model

WORKING MEMORY - the memory you are using when you are working on a complex task which requires you to store memory as you go along

  • Devised by Baddeley and Hitch - STM is not one store but several different stores: one store for visual processing and one store for processing sounds

Componenets of WMM:

  • CENTRAL EXECUTIVE - allocates information to slave units, has a very limited capacity
  • PHONOLOGICAL LOOP - has a limited capacity, deals with auditory information and preserves order of information (divided into PHONOLOGICAL STORE (inner ear) and ARTICULATORY PROCESS (inner voice, form of maintanance rehearsal))
  • VISUO-SPATIAL SKETCHPAD - temporarily stores and processes visual and/or spatial (Logie - divided into VISUAL CACHE (store) and INNER SCRIBE)
  • EPISODIC BUFFER - Baddeley added in 2000, limited capacity, extra storage system, integrates information from central executive, phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and LTM      (
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Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony

Key study: Loftus and Palmer

  • EXPERIMENT 1 (to see if misleading info distorted accuracy of EW's immediate recall): 45 students watched 7 different car accident films, questionnaire about it and questions
  • Critical question: 'About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?', 6 groups- 'hit' changed to smashed, collided, bumped or contacted, smashed=highest, contacted lowest.
  •  EXPERIMENT 2 (to see if memory can be altered by misleading post-event info): new pp's divided into 3 groups and shown car accident, group 1 - smashed, group 2 - hit, group 3 - speed not mentioned (control)
  • 1 week later asked ' did you see any broken glass?' (no glass in film), pp's in smashed condition more likely to say that there was broken glass
  •  EVALUATION - Loftus et al -> showed pp's slides of events leading to car accident , misleading questions affected recall, Bekerian and Bowers -> repeated Loftus et al's study = misleading questions affects retrieval not storage, Yuville and cutshall -> interviewed 13 people 4 months after bank robbery, included 2 misleading questions yet pp's provided accurate recall 
  • INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES - Wells and Olsen -> men and women has similar EWT abilites, Schachter et al -> older people have more problems remembering the source of information but recall events the same as younger people
  • VALIDITY - lab experiments may not be taken seriously, pp's not emotionally involved
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Influence of Anxiety and Age on Accuracy of EWT


  • Deffenbacher - meta-analysis of 18 studies = high stress negatively impacts accuracy of EWT
  • Christianson and Hubinette - emotional arousal may enhance accuracy of memory, 58 real witnesses of bank robberies -> if threatened, recall more accurate and more details
  • Johnson and scott - weapon-focus effect,poor recall for certain details in violoent crimes
  • EVALUATION - Deffenbacher -> YERKES-DOBSON LAW, explains contradiction of research, anxiety effects in EWT are curvilinearLoftus et al -> witness eye movements + weapon. Riniolo et al -> titanic witnesses (real world application)


  • Parker and Carranza - primary school children and college students, children = higher rate of choosing but more likely to make errors of identification
  • Yarmey - 651 adults in public places, young & middle aged more confident in recall but no difference in accuracy
  • Memon et al - accuracy of young and old EWs, 35 mins = no difference,2 weeks = older less accurate
  • EVALUATION - Anastasi and Rhodes - Own-age bias.  Brigham and Malpass - differental experience hypothesis. Clifasefi et al alcohol impairs attention
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The Cognitive Interview

  • Devised by Fisher and Geiselman
  • Characterised into four components:





  • EVALUATION - Kohnken et al -> 34% increase in amount of correct information generated from CI compared to standard interviewing techniqures. Milne and Bull-> effectiveness of each component. Difficult to establish effectiveness as CI is a collection of related techniques. Technique requires more time than is often available so cannot be effectively used IRL. Enhanced CI creates greater demand on interviews.
  • REAL LIFE APPLICATION - Stein and Memon -> CI used in Brazil
  • INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES - Mello and Fisher - compared memory of older and younger people using CI and standard police interview (SI), CI produced more information than SI and had a greater advantage on older people compared to young people.
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Strategies for Memory Improvement

Mnemonic techniques:

MNEMONIC - Any structured technique that is used to help remember and recall information

  • VERBAL MNEMONICS - acronym,acrostic, rhymes and chunking
  • VISUAL MNEMONICS - method of loci, keyword method (Atkinson and Raugh), spider diagrams and mind maps
  • EVALUATION - Gruneberg -> 30% of pysch students used verbal mnemonics, Glidden et al-> verbal mnemonics effective in children with learning disabilities. O'Hara et al -> training using method of loci is has LTM benefits for older adults, Atkinson -> pp's that used keyword method learned more Russian vocab than control who didn't but LT advantage less supported. Most studies done in labs = RL classroom application shows mixed results (Slavin
  • EXPLAINING HOW THEY WORK - Bower et al -> when words are organised into conceptual order = recall is better, mnemonic techniques make us elaborate the information to be remembered. Paivio -> words and images are processed seperately = double encoding = increases likelihood of being remebered (DUAL CODING HYPOTHESIS)
  • REAL LIFE APPLICATION - Broadly and MacDonald -> mnemonics used to overcome STM deficits in Down Syndrome children
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