Memory

Nature of Short Term Memory

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STM

Duration
How long we remember-     Appox. 18 seconds
(Peterson and Peterson)

Capacity
How much we can remember-   7+ or- 2 chunks, letters words, information (Miller)

Encoding
How we remember things- Mainly acoustic
(Conrad)
(Baddeley)

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LTM

Duration
How long we remember- Up to a lifetime
(Bahrick et al)

Capacity
How much we can remember- Unlimited

Encoding
How we remember things- Mainly semantic
(Baddeley)

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Peterson and Peterson

Aim of this study:

To demonstrate that information held in STM is quickly lost if rehersal is prevented

Procedure:

  • Participants were given meaningless trigrams
  • Group 1 were asked to recall the trigram immediately
  • Group 2 was given a distractor task, to count backwards in threes out loud from a tree digit number (481,478,475) for 3,6,9,12,15,18 seconds. They were then asked to recall the trigram

Findings:

Immediate recall: nearly 100% of trigrams were recalled
1. 3 seconds- approx. 80%
2. 6 seconds- approx. 55%
3. 18 seconds- approx. 10%

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Evaluation

 

Strength
It had a good control of extraneous variables, this means that the settingh was controlled. Therefore all extaneous variables (light,sound and temperature) are controlled, making the study accurate and good internal validity

Weakness
It lacked mundane realism, this means that that task or stimulus was highly artificial and does not reflect how STM is used in everyday life.
Specifically, the task given was to recall nonsense triggrams, therefore it is difficult to generalise the findings from this study and apply them to how memory operates in the real wold (low ecological validity.)

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