Psychology - Memory

  • Created by: bondj
  • Created on: 13-04-15 13:59

Multi-store explanation of memory

Peterson and Peterson

Aim: to see if rehearsal was necessary to hold information in the short-term store.

Method: participants were give sets of three letters to remember, but were immediately asked to count backwards in threes out loud for different lengths of time. This was done to prevent rehearsal. Participants were then asked to recall the letters in the correct order.

Results: the results of the study showed that participants had forgotten virtually all of the information after 18 seconds.

Conclusion: it was concluded that we cannot hold information in the short-term store unless we can rehearse it.

1 of 10

Multi-store explanation of memory


Aim: to provide evidence to support the multi-store explanation of memory.

Method: participants had to learn a list of words presented one at a time for two seconds per word, and then recall the words in any order

Results: the wordas at the end of the list were recalled first (known as the RECENCY EFFECT). Words from the beginning of the list were also recalled quite well (known as the PRIMACY EFFECT), but the middle words were not recorded very well. 

Conclusion: Murdock concluded that this provides evidence for separate short-term and long-term stores.

Murdock claimed that the recency effect is evidence that the last few words were still in the short-term store. The primacy effect is evidence that the first few words flowed into the long-term store.

2 of 10

Re-constructive memory


Aim: to see if people, when given something unfamiliar to remember would alter the information.

Method: participants were asked to read a story called 'The War of the Ghosts', which was a Native American legend. Later they were asked to retell the story as accurately as possible. This retelling was repeated several times during the weeks that followed.

Results: Bartlett discovered that his participants found it difficult to remember bits of the story concerned with spirits and changed other bits of the story so that it made sense to them. Each time they retold the story, they changed it some more.

Conclusion: Bartlett concluded that our memory is influenced by our own beliefs.

3 of 10

Re-constructive memory

Wynn and Logie

Aim: to see if the recall of familiar stories changed in the same way that Bartlett found with unfamiliar stories.

Method: they asked university students to recall details of their first week at university. They were asked to do this several times throughtout the year.

Results: the results showed that the accuracy of their descriptions remained the same no matter how many times they were asked to recall the information. This is unlike Bartlett's participants who changed their stories with every telling. 

Conclusion: Wynn and Logie concluded that memories for familiar events will not change over time.

4 of 10

Levels of processing

Craik and Lockhart

Aim: To see if the type of question asked about words will have an effect on the number of words recalled.

Method: participants were presented with a list of words, one at a time, and asked questions about each word to which they had to answer 'yes' or 'no'.Some questions required structural processing of the words; others required phonetic processing and the remainder required semantic processing. They were given a longer list of words and asked to identify the words they had answered about.

Results: participants indentified 70% of the words that required semantic processing35% of the words that required phonetic processing and 15% of the words that required structural processing.

Conclusion: the more deeply information is processed, the more likely it is to be remembered.

5 of 10


Underwood and Postman

Aim: to see if new learning interferes with  previous learning.

Method: participants were divided into 2 groups:

  • GROUP A -they were asked to learn a list of word pairs (cat-tree, candle-table, apple0lake). They were then asked to learn a second list of word pairs (cat-glass, candle-whale, apple-sadness)
  • GROUP B -were asked to learn the first list of word pairs.

Both groups were asked to recall the first list of word pairs.

Results: GROUP B's recall of the first list was more accurate than that of GROUP A.

Conclusion: new learning will cause people to recall previously learned information less accurately.

6 of 10


Godden and Baddeley

Aim: to see if people who learn and are tested in the same environment will recall more information than those who learn and are tested in different environments.

Method: participants were deep-sea divers. They were divided into four groups. All od the groups were given the same list of words to learn:

  • GROUP 1 had to learn underwater and recall underwater
  • GROUP 2 had to learn underwater and recall on the shore
  • GROUP 3 had to learn on the shore and recall on the shore
  • GROUP 4 had to learn on the shore and recall underwater

Results: GROUP 1 and 3 recalled 40% more words than GROUP 2 and 4.

Conclusion: recall all of the information will be better if it happens in the same context that learning takes place.

7 of 10

Factors affecting eyewitness accounts

Loftus and Palmer (Leading Questions)

Aim: to see if asking leading questions affect the accuracy of recall

Method: participants were shown films of car accidents. Some were asked 'HOW FAST WAS THE CAR GOING WHEN IT HIT THE OTHER CAR?' Others were asked 'HOW FAST WAS THE CAR GOING WHEN IT SMASHED THE OTHER CAR?'

Results: those who heard the word 'smashed' gave a higher speed estimate than those who heard 'hit'

Conclusion: leading question will reduce the accuracy of recall. The word 'smashed' led participants to believe the car was going faster.

8 of 10

Factors affecting eyewitness accounts

Bruce and Young (Unfamiliar Faces)

Aim: to see if familiarity affects the accuracy of identifying faces

Method: psychology lectures were caught on security cameras at the entrance of a building. Participants were asked to identify the faces seen on the security tape from a series on a high-quality photographs

Results: the lecturer's students made more correct identifications than other students and experienced police officers

Conclusion: previous familiarity helps when identifying faces.

9 of 10

Factors affecting eyewitness accounts

Geiselman et al (Context)

Aim: to see if reinstating the context of an event will affect the accuracy of witnesses accounts

Method: participants were shown a police training film of a violent crime. Two days later they were interviewed about what they had seen. For half of the participants, the context of the event was recreated during the interview. For the other half of the participants, standard police interview techniques were used

Results: the participants who had the context recreated recalled more accurate facts about the violent crime than the other participants

Conclusion: recreating context during interviews will increase the accuracy of recall. This method is known as the cognitive interview.

10 of 10


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Memory resources »