Unit One: Memory

Multi-store model- Murdoch (1962):

Aim: 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 2 seconds. Then recall the words in any order.

Results: The words at the end of the list were recalled first. These words at the beginning of the list were also recalled. But the middle words were not recalled very well at all.

Conclusion: This provides evidence for separate short-term and long-term stores

Evaluation: This study can be criticised for low ecological validity, which is when the findings can not be generalised to a variety of real life settings. This is because it was done in an artifical lab and participants are asked to remember pointless information.

Practicial Application: By knowing the capacity of short term memory is approximately 7 chunks of information the government has made sure a car registration number never exceeds 7 to allow people a chance to remember it. The same with postcodes

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Multi-store model:

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Levels of processing- Craik and Lockhart (1972):

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. They were asked questions about each word, where had to answer yes or no. Questions required either structual, phonetic or semantic processing.They were then asked to idenify which words they had answered questions about.

Results:Participants remembered more words that had been semantically processed (75% of the words). Only 35% of words phonetically processed and 15% of the words structually processed.

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

Evaluation: A strength of the levels of processing model is that it provides a valid explanation of memory. This means that it accurately describes how memory works in real life. This is because some things that are meaningful to you, you remember better than things that are less meaningful.

Practicial application: To improve study skills, instead of just reading something over and over you might remember it better by writing it down in your own words. This requires semantic processing.

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Levels of processing:

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Recontructive memory- Bartlett (1932):

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

Method: Participants were asked to read a Native American Legend called 'The war of the ghosts'. Later they were asked to retell the story as accurately as possible. This was repeated several times during the weeks that followed.

Results: Participants found it difficult to remember bits of the story about the spirits and changed bits of the story so that it made more sense to them. Each time they retold the story, it changed more.

Conclusion: Memory is influenced by our own beliefs and what we already know.

Evaluation: This study can be criticised for low ecological validity, this is when the findings cannot be generalised to a real life setting. This is because it was done in a controlled environment meaning participants could be changing the story consciously due to demand characteristics.

Practical Application: This explanation of memory helps to explain why two people who are recalling the same event might have completely different versions of the story. They both might believe their version is accurate

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Interference- Underwood and Postman (1960):

Aim:To see if new learning interferes with pervious learning.

Method: Participants were divided into two groups:

Group A: asked to learn a list of word pairs (cat-tree, candle-table, apple-lake). Then asked to learn a second list of word pairs (cat-glass, candle-whale, apple-sadness)

Group B: asked to learn only the first list of word pairs

Results: Group B recalled the first list more accurately than group A.

Conclusion: New learning interfered with the group A participants' ability to recall the first list. (retroactive interference)

Evaluation: This study can be criticised for low ecological validity, this is when the findings can not be generalised to a real life setting. This is because it was done in a lab and participants were asked to remember pointless information.

Practical appication: When revising avoid studying two subjecs that are similar in the same evening.

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Context- Godden and Baddeley (1975):

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

Method:Participants were deep sea divers.They were divided into 4 groups, all groups were given the same amount of words to learns.

Group 1: learnt underwater and recalled underwater.....Group 2: learnt underwater and recalled on shore

Group 3: learnt on shore and recalled on shore.....Group 4: learnt on shore and recalled underwater

Results: Groups 1 and 3 recalled 40% more words than groups 2 and 4

Conclusion: Recall of information is better if it happens in the same context that the learning take place.

Evaluation: 

Practical application: Revise in an environment that resembles the school exam rooms for example at a desk (not on your bed). Do not revise while listening to music because you will not have music in the exam.

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Explanation of forgetting:

Miller (1968)                                                   Brain damage (HM) - Anterograde amnesia

A paitent suffering from epilepsy had an operation in which 2/3 of his hippocampus was removed. After the operation he was unable to learn new information. This shows that the hippocampus is important for recording new memories.

Russell and Nathan (1946)                                    Brain damage (KF) - Retrograde amnesia

A 22 year old paitent had fallen off his motocycle. He banged his head and suffered severe concussion. Althought the X-rays showed no fracture of the skull, he could not recall any events that had happened for two years before the accident.

Evaluation of both studies: A strength of these studies is they have high ecological validity, which is when the results can be applied to real life. This is because they made use of people with real life brain injuries and therefore apply to how memory works in real life.

These studies can be criticised for low population validity, which is when the results do not apply to a wide variety of people. This is because they only studied one person with specific brain injuries so it doesnt apply to memories of others.

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Leading questions- Loftus and palmer (1974):

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 into the other car?'

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

Conclusion: Leading questions will affect the accuracy of recall. The word smashed led participants to believe the car was travelling faster.

Evaluation: A strength of this study is that it has high reliability. This is when a study finds the same findings when it is repeated. This is because it takes place in a lab with standardised procedures. Eg the length of time the people saw the video.

Watching a film of an event is not the same as real life experiences. When watching a film you are prepared for what is about to happen and you are in a safe environment.

Practical application: Police and lawyers can use this knowledge when talking to witnesses by not asking thhem leading questions. This will increase the reliability of the witness's testimony.

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Unfamiliar faces- Bruce and Young (1998):

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

Method: Psychology lecturers were caught on security cameras at the enterance of a building. Participants watched this recording. Participants were then asked to identify the faces seen on the security from a series of high-quality photographs.

Results: The lecturers students made more correct identifications than the other students and experienced police officers

Conclusion: Previous familiarity helps when identifying faces

Evaluation: A strength of this study is that it has high reliability. This is when a study finds the same findings when repeated. This is because it took place in a lab with standardised procedures. Eg the length of time people saw the video.

Watching a video of an event is not the same as real life experiences. When watching a film you are prepared for what is about to happen and you are in a safe environnment.

Practical application: Suggests that mempry for faces can be reliable in certain situations, particularly if the person is a stranger, we must have other evidence too.

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