Psychology- memory

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Multi-store memory

  • Encoding- Changing info so that it can be stored
  • Storage- Holding info in the memory system
  • Retrieval- Recovering info from the memory system
  • Sensory store- Holds info recieved from the senses. Holds for less than a second and its capacity is very limited. Rehearse info for it to go int the STS.
  • Short term store- Holds info for less than a minute and it can hold 7 plus or minus 2 chunks of info. Rehearse it for it to go into the LTS.
  • Long term store- Holds info forever and its capacity is unlimited. 
  • Multistore model of memory- The idea that info passes through a series of stores.

Primacy effect- remebering words at the begining of the list.

Recency effect- remebering words at the end of the list.

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Studies for multi-store model

Peterson and Peterson:

Aim- To see whether rehearsal was necessary to keep info in the STS.

Method- Participants were given sets of 3 letters and then were immediately asked to count backwards in 3's to avoid reharsal. 

Results- Paerticipants had forgotten virtually all of the words in 18 seconds.

Conclusion- Rehearsal is neccesary to keep info in the STS.


Aim- To provide evidence to support the multi-store model of memory.

Method- He gave participants a list of words to learn, presented two at a time and were asked to learn them.

Results- Participants mainly remembered the first words and the last words which was known as the primacy and recency effect, but they had forgotten the middle words.

Conclusion- The recency effect was proof of the the STS as the words went into the STS and the primacy effect was proof of the LTS as the words had stayed in the LTS.

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Evaluation and practical applications


- Lacks ecological validity as learning lists of words is not necessary in every day life.

- Not everything needs to be rehearsed to be remembered like really shocking things.

- It does help us to understand why people may find it hard to remember a post code or a telephone number.

Practical applications:

- Because our STS can hold approximately 7 plus or minus 2 chunks of information, post codes and number plates never excedd that number.

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The reconstructive memory


Aim- To see if participants would alter an unfamiliar story to make more sense of it.

Method- He gave them a story called 'the war of the legends' which was a native american legend and they were then asked to retell the story. This was done several times over the next few weeks.

Results- Every time the story was retold, it changed. Particpants changed the bits concerning spirits to make more sense of it.

Conclusion- Memory is influenced by our own beliefs.

Wynn and Logie

Aim- To see if participants would alter familiar stories in the same that Barlett found with unfamiliar stories. 

Method- He asked university students to retell their first week of school. This was several times throughout the year.

Results- The stories never changed, no matter how many times they were asked or how long ago it was.

Conclusion- Familiar stories will not be altered.

Reconstructive memory- the idea that information will be altered so that it can made more sense of.

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Evaluation and practical applications


  • It is hard to decide how accurate a retelling of a story is.
  • We do not know if the students were telling the truth in the first place.
  • It tells us why people from different cultural backgrounds have trouble agreeing with each other as their past knowledge and experiences influences what we remember.

Pratical appications:

  • When interviewing witnesses, make sure to be careful as they may change some events to make more sense of it.
  • When two people have seen the same thing buthave dfferent stories about it, its not that they are lying, but they have probably just changed some info. 
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The levels of processing

Structural processing- The way the words look

Phonetic processing-The way the words sound

Semantic processing- What the words mean

Levels of processing- The depth at which info is thought about

Craik and Lockhart

Aim- To determine if the type of question asked about a words will have an effect on the number of words recalled.

Method- Participants were given a list of word to learn that had questions to which were answered yes or no. Some questions required structural/phonetic and semantic processing. The participants were then given a longer list of words and were asked to identify the other words.

Results- They identified 75% of words that required semantic processing, 35% of words that required phonetic processing and 15% of words that require sructural processing. 

Concluson- The deeper information is thought about, the moe likely it is to be remembered. 

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Evaluation and practical applications


- Took place in an artifical condition, therefore it lacks ecological validity.

- It doesn't say why deeper levels of processing helps memory.

Practical applications:

- develop better study habits. Instead of repeating words over and over again in hope of learning them, just write it down which requires semantic processing.

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