Psychology Year 1 Memory

Multi store model of memory

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Multi store model of memory info

Sensory memory: Receives and stores info from environment from our senses.

  • The attention mechanism selects what info we encode.
  • Sight info - Iconic
  • Hearing info - Echoic
  • Decay is only a few seconds but lasts long enough to be encoded.

Short Term memory: Holds all the info someone is thinking about at one time. STM has a capacity of 7 items + / - 2.

Encoding: The process of changing info to a form the memory can deal with. We encode acoustically (echoic) to the STM and semantically to the LTM. 

Rehearsal: To maintain items in the STM Maintenence rehearsal is required to re-enter the info.

Long Term memory: Holds info encoded semantically for a long period of time, potentially forever. It has unlimited capacity. Does not have to be rehearsed as it lasts a lifetime.

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Multi store model of memory eval


Distinction between STM and LTM is supported. E.g people with amnesia have difficulty with STM tasks but can recall LTM easily.


KF shows different recall of STM for visual and auditory materials. This means there is no single STm as the model suggests. There must be at least one for visual and at least one for auditory processing. The working memory model suggests seperate stores.

The idea that tehre is only one type of LTM store is challenged by how there are different types of memory. There is semantic (general information)procedural (how we do things) and episodic (past experiences).

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The working memory model eval


Brain imaging studies how that specific parts of the brain light up when certain tasks are performed. This shows that seperate systems are at work.

KF had poor auditory memory but good visual memory this shows that the phonological loop was damaged but the visuo spatial sketchpad is fine. This means there must be seperate systems at work.


Central executive has little experiemental support, only theoretical idea.

No part of the model suggests how info is communicated to LTM.

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Loftus and Palmer

  • Played a video of two cars crashing
  • How fast were the cars going when they ______ into each other?
  • Smashed, collided, hit 
  • PPts said car was moving faster when  more aggressive verb was used.

This shows that info given in questions can alter peoples memories. e.g courtroom



  • Lab study, so well controlled variables, IV DV validity.


  • You can't tell if memory was distorted. The answer may have been down to demand characteristics.
  • Only uni students participated. The sample group was too inaccurate and ungeneralisable.
  • Watching the video lacks mundane realism, so results may be inaccurate.
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Anxiety on EWT

Levels of anxiety impact the validity of EWT.

Yerkes dodson law, suggest both low and high anxiety lead to poor recall, inverted U.

Encoded memories dont encode as well if anxious, weapon focus, due to tunnel theory of memory. Attention fixed on the weapon and not the robber for example.


Field studies lack control because researchers cant control what happens to witnesses between the crime and the interview.

Ethical issues from creating anxiety in lab studies my lead to psychological harm.

Lab studies can generate demand characteristics. 

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Cognitive Interview

Memories are context dependent so they wil be retrived if the appropriate cues are present. There are 4 main techniques:

  • Reinstate the context - recreating the conditions of the event.
  • Change the sequence - witness will be asked to record the details of an event in a different order so they dont skip out any details.
  • Chnage perspective - Recall info from another point of view, no details are missed.
  • Report everything - told to recall everything possible so 'insignificant details' are not missed.


  • Better than a standard interview, the interviewee is going to rememeber more.


  • Takes longer ands requires special training.
  • Increases amount recalled but decreases accuracy.
  • Improves recall but not recognition so not much more can be remembered about the culprit.
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