Memory Research

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The Multi-Store Model of Memory

Put forward by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968

  • Memory is seen as a flow of information
  • Information flows through an information processing system
  • The system is didvided into 3 stores
  • There are restrictions at each store: capacity, duration and encoding

The Stores:

  • Sensory Memory- stays for a very brief period of time before either decaying or passing on
  • Short-Term Memory- has a very small capacity, information can be lost within a few seconds if not rehearsed, encoding is mainly through sound
  • Long-Term Memory- has a limitless capacity, information can be stored for upto a lifetime, encoding is mainly through meaning
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The Multi-Store Model of Memory

Put forward by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968

  • Memory is seen as a flow of information
  • Information flows through an information processing system
  • The system is didvided into 3 stores
  • There are restrictions at each store: capacity, duration and encoding

The Stores:

  • Sensory Memory- stays for a very brief period of time before either decaying or passing on
  • Short-Term Memory- has a very small capacity, information can be lost within a few seconds if not rehearsed, encoding is mainly through sound
  • Long-Term Memory- has a limitless capacity, information can be stored for upto a lifetime, encoding is mainly through meaning
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Sperling (1960)

Evidence for Sensory Memory

Sperling showed a 4x3 chart of letters to his participants for 50 milliseconds

When asked to recall as many letters as possible participants could only recall 4 or 5 letters but they knew there were more

This is because:

  • As participants are naming 4 or 5 letters the  image of the chart fades

This is a laboratory experiment so;

  • it has a high degree of control
  • it lacks ecological validity
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Jacobs (1887)

Capacity in STM

Jacobs used memory span to see how much could be stored in STM at any one time

Procedure:

  • Presented his participants with a random sequence of digits
  • Participants were then asked to repeat them back in order

The memory span was the longest sequence of items recalled at least 50% of the time

Findings: 

  • The average number of items recaled was between 5 and 9
  • This is known as 7 plus or minus 2
  • The span increased with age
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Peterson and Peterson (1959)

Duration in STM

Aimed to study how long information remains in STM without rehearsal 

Procedure:

  • Participants were presented with a trigram made up of 3 consonants
  • Recall took place after 3,6,9,12,15 or 18 seconds
  • Partcipants counted back in 3's from starting with a random number between the initial presentation of the trigram and the recall time
  • Recall had to be 100% accurate and in the correct order

Findings:

  • There was a rapid increase in forgetting from STM as the time delay increased
  • After 6 seconds 50% were recalled
  • After 18 seconds fewer than 10% were recalled
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