The Levels Of Processing Theory

Models of memory: levels of processing
Basic outline

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Basic outline - 3 Points to remember

o Developed by Craik and Lockhart in 1972

o Focuses PROCESS rather than STRUCTURE, unlike the MSM

o It states that info could be processed in one of three levels - Shallow/Structural, Intermediate/ Phonetic or Deep/Semantic

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Shallow/structural level - 3 points to remember

o What a stimulus LOOKS like

o the physical properties of the stimulus

o Such as looking at words and deciding whether the letters are UPPER or LOWER case or whether the print is in one COLOUR or another

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Intermediate/ phonological - 3 points to remember

o The SOUND of the stimulus

o An auditory level

o Such as, deciding whether one word rhymes with another

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Deep/semantic level - 3 points to remember

o The MEANING of the stimulus

o The meaning and connections to other stimuli

o Such as, judging if a word fits into a sentence or sorting words into categories

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Which level of processing? - 6 points to remember

o Any stimulus can be processed in a NUMBER of different levels, but the higher levels of processing give more durable memories.

o incoming stimuli pass throu a series of analysing mechanisms

o Memory traces are a product of how stimuli are analysed

o the strength of trace depends on: the ATTENTION paid to stimulus, the DEPTH of processing and the CONNECTIONS with existing knowledge

o Craik and Lockhart argued it was what was done with the material which determines if it is remembered and Rehersal just PROLONGS the memory trace

o It is also Dependant on which TYPE of Rehersal is used on the information

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Popular study - Ferguson Craik and Robert Tulving

o AIM- to investigate the depth of processing by giving a number of tasks requiring different levels of processing and measuring recognition

o METHOD- Repeated measures design with three conditions. Participants were given a list of 60 words, one at a time and were required to process each word at one of three levels - deep/semantic such as 'does this word fit into a sentence?' Intermideate/ phonological such as 'does this word rhyme with..?' or shallow/structural asking 'is this word in capital letters?' Participants were then unexpectadly given a list of 180 words which contained the original 60 and were asked to recall the original

o RESULTS- significantly more words recalled at deep level (65%) than phonetic (37%) or shallow (17%) levels.

o CONCLUSION- a deeper processing resulted in better recognition

o EVALUATION- based on incidental learning, which is more true to real life, meaning participants are less likely to engage in extra processing (deepening the trace) which would invalidate the results but there is a necessary level of deception requires which is unethical.

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Types of Rehersal - 3 points to remember

o Maintenence rehersal- simple rote repetition, repeating word as it has been presented

o Elaborative rehersal- analysing the meaning of rehearsed material and perhaps linking it with stored knowledge in the LTM

o the type of rehersal is a critical theoretical assumption and it determines how durable the memory is - Elaborative rehersal will entail a deeper processing than maintenance.

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Other studies for AO2 - 2 points to remember

o ELIAS AND PERFERRTI 1973 - participants had greater recognition of words they had thought of similies for (semantic) than words they had thought of rhymes for (phonological.)

o MORRIS ET AL 1977 - semantic processing wasn't always best, it depended on how well recall was MEASURED. With recognition, semantic was best, but with rhyming recognition phonological was best.

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Applications for LOP - 4 points to remember

o More recall if -

o DEPTH- understanding and making connections between topics

o SPREAD - use several different techniques on the material

o ELABORATAION - mental effort is required to store material effectively

o DISTINCTIVENESS- make material your own

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AO2 evaluation of LOP - strengths- 5 points to rem

o The theory emphasises how processes which occur during learning affect the extent to which material can be retrieved from the LTM (Medin et al 2001.)

o It provides a realistic and credible alternative to the structural approach to memory

o They argued perception, attention and memory are independent as memory traces are formed as a result of perceptual and attentional processes. They focused on these processes and by doing so made a huge contribution to the understanding of memory.

o the theory is open to EMPIRICAL testing and generally the study results support predictions. These studies are also highly involved in incidental learning which is more ecologically valid.

o Craik (2002) has acknowledged that the original theory was oversimplified and accepts a number of research findings, such as Morris et al's 1977 theory which states semantic processing isn't always superior and recall depends on relevance of processing.

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AO2 evaluation of LOP - limitations- 4 points to r

o Craik and Lockhart have updated their model in response to criticisms and recent research findings. They had not consolidated retrieval processes in sufficent detail.

o Key problem for the theory concerned with the way in which the depth of processing was measured. There was no way of assessing whether processing was deep or shallow and asking if a word is in a capital letter or not doesn't mean the participant didnt engage in extra processing

o depth is also usually defined as 'number of words remembered' which isn't an adequate measure of processing depth

o Although they emphasise process rather than structure Craik and Lockhart do assume the existence of separate STM and LTM systems. However, they see the function of STM in terms of the processes it carries out (BADDELEY 1997.)

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Morgan Brown


Very helpful- thanks :) 

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