Remembering and forgetting

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  • The multi-store model of a memory consists of a sensory register, a short-term memory and a long-term memory
  • Each component of the multi-store model has different properties, that is differences in code, capacity and duration
  • According to the multi-store model, the key process for transferring information from STM to LTM is rehearsal
  • The levels of processing theory emphasises that depth of processing is the key to long-term retention
  • The working memory model is a model of short-term memory only
  • The working memory model has a central executive and a number of sub-systems, including the visuo-spatial scratchpad and phonological loop; more recently the episodic buffer has been added
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  • Long term memory holds a vast amount of information for an indefinite period
  • A distinction has been made between 3 types of long term stores: procedural, semantic and episodic
  • Evidence for the separate components of LTM comes from clinical studies
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  • Trace decay explains forgetting as the fading of neurological trace which is formed when a stimulus is encoded
  • Displacement is based on the limited capacity of STM because when the 7 'slots' are full, new information pushes out the oldest information in short-term store
  • Retrieval failure is concerned with cues, both internal (e.g. mood) and external (e.g. environment), which aid retrieval of memories. However, the research into retrieval failure has often involved extreme conditions and therefore has lacked ecological vaidity
  • There are 2 types of interference: retroactive and proactive. Support for interference theory of forgetting comes largely from lab studies and these may not be relevant to forgetting in real life
  • Lack of consolidation as a theory of forgetting refers to the necessary period of time required so that memories can be 'embedded' in long-term store and if disruption occurs during the consolidation period then memories of events just prior to the incident are lost
  • Motivated forgetting refers to Freud's theory of repression, which is when anxiety-provoking material is pushed into the unconscious and becomes inaccessible
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