- Differentiates between 3 types of memory stores which deal with different types of information for different lengths of time: the sensory store which has a large capacity and a duration of no more than a couple of seconds - seperates the sensory stores for all the different senses.
- STM - which has a capacity of 7 +/- 2 chunks of information & a dureation of 20-30 seconds and the encoding is acoustic.
- LTM - unlimited capacity & has a duration from a couple of minutes to forever and it's encoding is mainly semantic.
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Stores i.e. STM & LTM:
- Sensory memory is information that is collected from the senses and stored briefly in a sensory buffer store - info remains in store until we deide whether to discard or process it. If yes, then iwll be transferred into STM.
- STM is your memory of an event in the present or immediate past - info is fragile and will decay rapidly if not rehearsed known as "maintenace rehersal". Info in STM will be lost if new information enters STM as it displaces the original information.
- LTM is your memory of events in the more distant past, it is anything that is recalled after more than a few minutes E.G. What you need to know for an exam - the more the information is rehearsed, the better its remembered.
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- Measures the duration of STM. Paritcipants given consonant trigrams e.g. CPQ, NGN & then asked to count backwards to prevent rehearsal. After 3 seconds, 90% of the trigrams are recalled correctly, after 18 secs, only 2% are recalled correctly - study suggests that information can be lost from STM in a matter of a few seconds if rehearsal is prevented or if people are not making a conscious effort to retain it.
- Further evidence from Sperling found that when he asked participants to only recall one line of the display, the required line was cued by a tone. Participants were able to recall 2/4 letters - demonstrate that sensory memory has a short duration, but perhaps a large capacity - supports MSM.
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Case Study of HM: (Amnesia) :
- Supports the importance of our memory stores. HM had a memory impairment, following surgery which involved destroying his hippocampus (to reduce his epilepsy). His LTM of events prior stayed intact, his STM also stayed in tact. However, he was unable to put new information into his LTM.
- Not only suggests that there are a seperate & distinct STM and LTM but suggests that the hippocampus is an important gateway through which memories must pass.
- Furthermore, research from brain scans has shown that the prefrontal cortex is active when individuals are working on an STM task (Beardsley, 1997) whereas the hippocampus is involved when LTM is engaged (Squire et al). Supports MSM as it suggests that STM & LTM are physically seperate.
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Criticises & Sucesses:
- Been criticised for being too simplistic as it cannot account for the fact that some things are easier to remember than others, perhaps because they're funny, interesting or distinctive and it only looks at the quantity of info to be stored and not the nature.
- Also flashbulb memories suggest that rehearsal may not be neccessary for all information to pass through from STM to LTM. The MSM model however suggests that info can only pass into LTM through rehearsal.
- Model produces testable theories which allow predictions to be made. As we have seen, there is evidence to support the existence of seperate memory store for SM, STM & LTM. There is evidence that these memory stores differ in their capacity, duration & encoding - some of this evidence comes from replicable laboratory studies increasing the validity of them, there is also some evidence from case studies.
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