GCSE Psychology Memory

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There are 3 ways in which we encode information:

-Visually (thorough Images)

-Acoustically ( through Sound)

-Semantically ( by meaning)

Once this information is encoded it is then stored. So we can access it later on. We store different types on information in different ways and this affects how we retrieve it later on.

Failure to retrieve something means that we can't remember.

The main differences between Short-Term Memory and Long-Term Memory is the duration

and the capacity.

STORAGE- encoded information is stored in out memory so that we can access it later on.

RETRIVEL- accessing or retrieving information from the storage.

DURATION- how long information can stay with that memory.

CAPACITY- how much information can be stored with that memory.

Multi-Store Model of Memory-Atkinson and Shiffrin

Atkinson and Shiffrin suggested that memory has separate stores. ( Sensory Memory, short term and long term.)

Sensory Memory- unencoded information that has been received through out senses is held for a few seconds in the sensory memory store before being passed on to the STM for encoding.

Short-Term Memory- contains encoded information from the sensory memory. Capacity is 5-9 objects and it's duration is up to 30 seconds. Usually encoded visually or acoustically. If it is rehearsed then is cam transfer into the Long-Term Memory.

Evidence to support the multi-store model of memory comes from cases where people have lost their short-term memory but kept the long-term memory or visa versa.


The multi-store model provides a simple description of memory processes.

Atkinson and Shiffrin used a scientific approach to carry out their research.

There is research to support the idea of separate memory stores.

It 's focus on memory for new facts or numbers, therefore this is why the model seems to explain how we remember a phone number until we dial it , but can't explain many of our everyday experiences with memory.

George Miller claimed that we can hold anything between 5-9 objects in out STM ( also know as magic number 7+/-2.

What happens when we already have this capacity on 9 objects in out STM?

Any new information that comes in displaces the old information that is already in there.

If you want to remember a phone number you would probably group the numbers together. This process is called CHUNKING and this improves the capacity or our short-term memory.

Key Study- Bower and Springston – Laboratory Experiment.

Aim: To see the effect of chunking.

Method: They had two groups of participants. The control group was presented with groups of letters like FB, IPH, DTW, AIB and M. The experimental group was given the same letters but grouped differently, FBI,PHD, CIA, IBM. You can see that when we arrange the letters like this then the letters 'make sense' to us, so we automatically 'chunk' them.

Results: The experimental group recalled many more letters than the control group.

Conclusion: Bower and Springston concluded that 'chunking' increases out capacity of STM. These groups of 3 letters


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