AQA Psych Unit1- Memory- Research into Duration, Capacity and Encoding PODCAST

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  • Created by: Danielle
  • Created on: 15-05-12 12:56

In terms of memory, duration refers to how long a memory lasts. 

Peterson and Peterson investigated the duration of STM using Trigrams

This was a lab experiment which involved participants being showed nonsense trigrams (these are three random consonants put together, for example MCV). The participants then had to recall the trigrams after intervals of 3,6,9,12,15 or 18 seconds. To prevent rehearsal participants had to count backwards in threes (from a given number); this acted as an interference task.

The results showed that the longer the interval delay, the less trigrams recalled. 80% of trigrams were recalled after 3 seconds, however, 10% were recalled after 18 seconds.

To conclude, Short-term memory has a limited duration when rehearsal is prevented. The results from this investigation support the multi-store model of memory by suggesting  that short-term memory is different from long-term memory in terms of duration. 


  • The results are likely to be reliable because the investigation took place in a lab which means that the investigators had a high control over variables
  • A criticism is the experiment lacks ecological validity because nonsense trigrams are artificial and do not reflect a real-life situation.


Capacity refers to how much can be held in memory

Jacobs studied the capacity of Short-term memory, the aim of this experiment was to see how much information could be held in S.T.M

In this investigation participants were given a sequence of digits or letters that they had to repeat back in the same order. The number of digits


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