• Created by: hbrane
  • Created on: 09-05-15 16:12

Short-term and long-term memory:

Memory - the mental processses involved in registering, storing and retrieving information.

Encoding - changing sensory input into a form that can be processed by the memory system.

Capacity - the amount of information that can be stored in memory at any particular time.

Duration - the length of time that information can be kept in memory.

Short-term Memory:

  • Encoding - acoustic.
  • Capacity - 7±2 items.
  • Duration - 18seconds.

Long-term Memory:

  • Encoding - semantic.
  • Capacity - unlimited.
  • Duration - up to a lifetime.
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Multi-Store Model:

  • Information is encoded visually into the sensory memory, which has a duration of 1-2 seconds and a capacity of 3-5items.  
  • By paying attention to the information in the sensory memory, it is transferred to short-term memory.
  • Information is encoded acoustically into short-term memory, which has a finite duration of 18seconds and a finite capacity of 7±2 items.
  • Through rehearsal, information is transferred to long-term memory.
  • If information is not rehearsed then it is likely that it will be lost through decay.
  • Information is encoded semantically into long-term memory, which has an infinite duration and a capacity of up to a lifetime. 

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Multi-Store Model:


  • Suggests that information has to rehearsed in order for in to be transferred into the long-term memory (LTM), however. people don't always rehearse information in real life situations and it is still processed into the LTM.
    • Rehearsal isn't always needed.
    • Some items can't be rehearsed.
      • Smells.
  • The model is too simplistic.
    • Suggests that there is only one store short-term memory (STM) and LTM. However, braincase studies prove differently, showing that there are in fact multiple stores in the STM.
      • KF study - could process visual information but not verbal information.
    • Doesn't give an explanation as to how information from the LTM is used in the STM.
      • WMM explains this with the episodic buffer.
  • Supporting studies:
    • Free recall; Glanzer and Cunitz (1996).
    • Encoding in LTM; Baddeley (1996) - primacy and regency effect.
    • Duration of LTM; Bahrick.
    • HM brain damage case study.
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Working-Memory Model:

Central Executive:

  • Controls attention.
  • Controls subsidary systems.

Visual-spatial scratchpad:

  • Holds information on form & colour.
  • Deals with spatial and movement information.
  • 'Inner eye'.

Phonological loop:

  • Rehearses verbal inpit to prevent it from decaying (inner voice).
  • Store fo accoustically encoded items (inner ear).

Episodic buffer:

  • Temporary storage system.
  • Allows information from the subsidary systems to combine with information from the LTM.
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Working-Memory Model:


  • Explains our ability to carry out tasks by storing information briefly, ehilst actively processing it.
  • Dual task technique; Baddeley and Hitch (1974).
    • When participants performed two tasks that used different subsidary systems, they could carry them both out easily.
    • When participants preformed two tasks that used the same subsidary system, they found it difficult to carry out both of the tasks and were slowed down.
    • Evidence of different components in the STM.
  • KF brain damage study.
    • Could process visual information and meaningful sounds (visuo-spatial sratchpad intact).
    • Struggled with processing verbal information (phonological loop damaged).
  • Central executive is an abstract concept that lacks proof of existence.
    • Capacity is unknown; we only know that it is limited.
    • Richardson (1984) argues that there are problems specifying the precise function of the central executive.
  • WMM is limited to just the STM and doesn't say anything about LTM.
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Eyewitness testimony (EWT):

Misleading Information:

  • Loftus and Palmer (1974).
    • Procedure:
      • Participants were shown a film of a car accident.
      • The participants were then asked "How fast were the cars going when they hit/collided/ smashed/bumped/contacted each other?
      • One week later, the participants were asked whether they had seen broken glass or not.
    • Findings:
      • Hit = 34miles.
      • Smashed = 41miles.
      • Word used to describe the accident affected the estimated speed.
      • "Smashed" group were more likely to say yes to broken glass, even though there was none.
    • Conclusion:
      • Leading questions can affect the accuracy of EWT and it has an influence on the person's repsonse.
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Eyewitness testimony (EWT):

  • Evaluation:
    • Lab experiment.
      • Low ecological validity, as it cannot be generalised to the ouside world due to it being carried out in an artificial setting.
      • Watching a video is not as emotionally arrousing as a real life event. 
        • A later study found that partcipants gave a more accurate description of a robber when put in a robbery unware that it was staged.
      • High demand characteristics as the particpants may have become aware of the fact that the experiment was about leading questions, so they could have changed their behaviour.
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Eyewitness testimony (EWT):

Age of the Witness:

  • Valentine and Coxon (1997).
    • Method:
      • 3 groups of participants (children, young adults and elderly people).
      • Watched a video of a kidnapping.
      • Then asked a series of leading and non-leading questions.
    • Findings:
      • Children and elderly were more likely to give incorrect answers to non-leading questions
      • Children were more likely to be misled by leading questions than adults or elderly.
    • Conclusion:
      • Age has an effect on the accuracy of EWT.
    • Evaluation:
      • Lacks ecological validity, as it was set in an artificial setting and wasn't as emotionally arousing as a real-life situation.
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Eyewitness testimony (EWT):

Cognitive interview:

  • Geiselman et al (1986).
    • 89 students.
    • Participants were shown police training videos of violent crimes.
    • 48hours later, the students were interviewed individually by American law enforcement officers.
    • Interviewers either carried out standard or cognitive interviews.
    • Interviews were recorded and analysed for accuracy of recall.
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