Coding, capacity and duration of memory

  • Coding, capacity and duration of memory: 
  • AO1:
  • Coding -  Baddeley:
  • The process of converting information from one form to another is called coding. Baddeley gave different lists of words to 4 groups of participants to remember: 
  • Group 1 (acoustically similar) - words sounded similar (cat, cab, can)
  • Group 2 (acoustically dissimilar) - words sounded different (pit, few, cow)
  • Group 3 (semantically similar) - words with similar meanings (great, large, big)
  • Group 4 (semantically dissimilar) - words that had all different meanings (good, huge, hot).
  • Participants were shown the origional words and asked to recall them in the correct order. When they had to do this recall immediately after hearing it (STM recall), they tended to do worse with acoustically similar words. When doing it after a 20 minute interval (LTM recall) they did worse with semantically similar words. This suggests infor is coded semantically in LTM.
  • Capacity:
  • Digit span - Jacobs developed a technique to measure digit span. He gave 4 digits, and the participants s asked to recall them in the correct order, if they get this right it goes up to 5, etc. Jacobs found the mean digit span was 9.3 items. The mean span for letters was 7.3. 
  • Span of memory and chunking:
  • Miller made observations of everyday practice. He noted that things typically come in 7s. 7 days a week, 7 notes on a scale etc. This suggests the capacity of STM is 7 items (+ or - 2). Miller noted that people can recall about 5 words, as well as 5 letters. This is done by chunking - grouping them into chunks.
  • Duration:
  • STM: Peterson and Peterson tested 24 undergraduates. They took part in 8 trials. The students were given a consonant


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