Part of the first exam forAQA PSY1

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Capacity of STM - Baddeley et Al 1975

To see if people could remember more short words than long words

  • Reading speed measured
  •  they were presented with 5 words on a screen
  •  words were either one-syllable words or polysyllabic words
  •  they were asked to write down the five words
  • Participants could recall more short than long, 
  • able to recall as many words as articulated in 2 seconds, 
  • strong positive correlation between reading speed and memory
  • Immediate memory span represents the number of items that can be articulated in roughly 2 seconds
  • Short words are more familiar to us so easy to remember
  • Baddeley responded by showing importance of pronounciation.
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Duration of STM - Peterson and Peterson 1959

 To test how long STM lasts without rehearsal

  • Participants shown a consonant trigram (CPW, NGW)
  • Participcants asked to count backwards in threes to stop rehearsal
  • After intervals of 3,6,9.. or 18 secs participants were asked to recall
  • Repeated several times using different trigrams
  • Participants able to recall 80% after 3 sec
  • Fewer trigrams recalled as time lengthend 
  • After 18s, less than 10% recalled
  • After 3s the trigrams begin to become decayed and so STM is roughly 3s
  • Trigrams arent everyday things to remember
  • Interference from earlier trigrams caused poor recall
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Encoding in STM - Baddeley (1966

To explore the effects of acoustic and semantic encoding

  • Participants were divided into 4 groups, five words drawn from each category
    • Acoustically similar words( e.g. man, mad, map)
    • Acoustically dissimilar words (e.g. pen, day, few)
    • Semantically similar words (e.g. great, big, large)
    • Semantically dissimilar words (e.g. hot, old, late)
  • After hearing five words, were asked to recall them
  • Acoustically similar words were harder to recall in CORRECT order (55%) than dissimilar (75%)
  • Similarity of meaning had very little effect
  • These findings support that STM relies more on sound than meanining
  • Experimental method shows a casual link to between type of coding and accuracy of recall
  • Conclusion from this study may not reflect the complexity of encoding.
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Duration of LTM -Bahrick et al (1975)

To establish VLTM & to see any difference between recognition and recall 

  • Graduates from a high-school in America over a 50-year period were found
  • 392 graduates shown pictures from high-school yearbook
  • Recognition group, each picture had a list of names, they had to match them up
  • Recall group: participants were simply asked to name the people without a list
  • In the recognition condition participants were:
    • 90% correct after 14yrs,  80% correct after 25yrs
    • 75% correct after 34yrs,  60% correct after 47yrs
  • Recall group
    • 60% after 7yrs, 20% after 47yrs
  • People can remember certain types of info for almost a lifetime
  • VLTM is better when measured by recognition than recall
  • Unclear whether drop-off in accuracy after 47yrs limits duration or a decline in memory with age
  • Study used meaninful stimulus material and tested people's memories from their own lives
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Encoding in LTM - Baddeley(1966)

To explore the effects of acoustic and semantic coding in LTM

  • Participants were divided into 4 groups, ten words drawn from each category
    • Acoustically similar words( e.g. man, mad, map)
    • Acoustically dissimilar words (e.g. pen, day, few)
    • Semantically similar words (e.g. great, big, large)
    • Semantically dissimilar words (e.g. hot, old, late)
  • After an interval of 20 minutes, which they did another task to do, they were asked to recall words 
  • Recall was much worse for semantically similar (55%) than dissimilar (85%)
  • Recall was the same for acoustically similar and dissimilar words
  • LTM primarily uses semantic coding (this was compared to STM encoding
  • Experimental method allows casual link between coding using in LTM and accuracy of recall.
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Summary of the Aktinson & Shiffrin (1968) model of


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Strategies for Memory Improvement

  • Paying attention
  • Use of elaborative rehearsal (making links with other information, make it meaningful!)
  • Organization
  • Avoiding interference effects (retro - new info interfering, pro - old info interfering)
  • Using the encoding specificity principle (context-dependent retrieval)
  • Using mnemonics
    •  (ROYGBIV - primary colours, 'Richard of York gave battle in vain')
    • Loci - locations act as retrieval cues because you know them so well
    • Peg-word method (words are used to add imagination to the objects - peg's act as cues)
  • Spacing your studies
  • Context-dependent retrieval - (Godden & Baddeley)
    • Divers learnt 40 unrelated words either on land or 15 m underwater
    • Recall was tested in the same or the other location 
    • Those who learnt in same location remembered the most (12.5) on average
    • Findings support encoding specificity principle
    • Been used in practical applications. e.g. some skills used by divers are practised underwater.
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