Multi Store Model on Memory

These are designed for the multi store model of memory by Atkinson and Schriffer (1968), this is part of the AQA Psychology B (PSYB2) specification. It is from the section of cognitive psychology. 

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Overview of the Multi Store Model on memory.

There are three stores of memory according to Atkinson and Schriffen (1968): sensory store, short term store and long term store

The sensory store is largely unconscious, attention is required to pass information to the short term store. For the information to be stored in the long term store, it requires continous rehearsal (verbal). This is then stored into the long term store and this can be transfered to the short term memory store via retrieval and then there is a response output from the short term memory. 

An example is a teacher asking a child if he/she knows the capital of France.

In this case the sensory stores are the ears, this is then retrieved from the long term store as the capital of France is Paris and then from the short term store, the output is Paris to the teacher. 

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Capacity of the memory stores.


Sensory memory: all sensory experience

Short-term memory: 7 items (+/-2)

In 1956, Miller published a famous paper called 'The Magic Number 7' in which he presented evidence to show the limit of short-term memory to be between 5 and 9; on average it was 7.

This can be increased by chunking: 0800001066 to 0800 00 1066.

Long-term memory: unlimited

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Duration of the memory stores


Sensory memory: 1/4 seconds (visual) and 4 seconds (auditory)

Short-term memory: 18-30 seconds

Long-term memory: unlimited

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Coding of the memory stores


Sensory memory: sense specific

E.g. remember a taste as a taste.

Short-term memory: phonological

Sound based.

Long-term memory: semantically

Based on meaning. 

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Baddeley-key study

AIM: to investigate coding in short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM).  METHOD: They had three separate groups which learnt a list (independent groups design):

One group learnt a list of acoustically similar words.

One group learnt a list of semantically similar words.

One group learnt a list of unrelated words (control condition). 

RESULTS: The groups were then asked to recall the list immediately (to test STM) and 20 minutes later (to test LTM).

Immediately recalled showed that most mistakes were the acoustically similar words.

20 minutes later, the most mistakes were the semantically similar words. 

INTERPRETATION/CONCLUSIONAs the acoustically similar words were difficult to remember immediately, this is because they were acoustically similar words and the coding of STM is acoustic; it was confusing.

As the semantically similar words were difficult to remember 20 mins later, this is because they were semantically similar words and the coding of LTM is meaning; it was confusion.

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Primacy and recency effect

Primacy effect is the better recall at the beginning of a list (rehearsed and transferred to the Long Term Memory). 

Recency effect is the better recall at the end of a list (still in Short Term Memory).

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Evaluation of the Multi Store Model




It has been criticised for its simplification of the STM (working memory model would argue this is more complex with different components) and LTM working in a uniform fashion.

They believe that rehearsal is key for transferring information but in real life we rarely transfer information in everyday life.

Case studies of patient (don't get confused with H.M-lack of consolidation),K.F suffered brain damage following a motorcycle accident, and underwent brain surgery. He found he had normal LTM function but not STM, the multi store model can't explain why this occurs.

Focuses on the structure of memory and ignores processes.

Doesn't reflect biological factors

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