Cognitive Psychology - The Multi-Store Model of Memory

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Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) suggested that memory is made up of a series of stores:


  • Describes memory in terms of information flowing through a system.
  • Information is detected by the sense organs and enters the sensory memory.
  • If attended to this information enters the short term memory.
  • The information is transferred to the long term memory if it is rehearsed.
  • If information is not rehearsed, then the information is forgotten - lost from short term memory by displacement or decay.

Sensory Memory

  • Duration: 0.24-0.50 seconds.
  • Capacity: All sensory experience (very large)
  • Encoding: Sense specific (different for each sense)

Short-Term Memory

  • Duration: 15-30 seconds.
  • Capacity: 5-9 items.
  • Encoding: Mainly acoustic.

Long-Term Memory

  • Duration: Unlimited
  • Capacity: Unlimited
  • Encoding: Mainly semantic.

Evaluation of the Multi-Store 


  • Many memory studies provide evidence to support the distinction between STM and LTM (in terms of duration, capacity and encoding).
  • The model can…


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