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Memory can be defined as; the retention of what we learn and what we experience

There is an interdependence of learning and memory- learning would not occur unless there was somewhere to retain the information learnt and if learning did not occur nothing would enter memory


The process of memory

Encoding – the process of translating information into a form in which we can use it and the putting that coded information into our memory. E.G. the memory of a bench would be coded visually


Storage – the process of retaining the information we have encoded


Retrieval – the process of accessing stored information.

-       Free recall – simply remembering information (e.g. Essay writing)

-       Cued recall- something acts as a trigger for information 

-       Recognition test – we identify previously learnt information (e.g. Multi choice questions)


For information to be sorted it has to have been encoded. To retrieve information it has to have been stored. Just because something has been stored does not always mean it can be retrieved.

Multi store model of memory


What is a ‘’model of memory’’?


A model of memory is a basic idea of how the memory system operates, the parts that make up he memory system and how the parts work together

The multi store model (msm):


The multi store model of memory is the most influential model of memory. It was developed by Atkinson and Schifrin (1968)

Atkinson and Schifrin claimed that the memory is comprised of three separate structural memory stores

Sensory memory – sensory memory stores are constantly receiving information through the senses. This incoming data remains in the sensory store for a very brief period

Short term memory- if the person is paying attention to the information in the sensory store the data is then encoded and transferred into the STM

Long term memory – if the information is rehearsed then it can be transferred to the LTM

The more we rehearse information in STM the stronger the memory will be in the LTM. When information needs to be recalled for LTM it is retrieved from LTM back into STM

Each of the 3 memory stores has different characteristics in terms of: capacity and duration.


capacity - very limited

duration - less than a second 

short term:

capacity - 7 + - 2 (5-9) 

duration - up to a minute 

long term:

capacity: unlimited 

duration- as long as human life


Sensory memory


This relates to the memory stores that hold sensory information for a brief period of time (no more than 2 seconds). Each of our senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell) has a separate store. Research has focussed on visual (iconic) and auditory (echoic) sensory memory.

Iconic memory – visual information from the eyes – things you see (stored as images)

Echoic memory – auditory input from the ears – things you hear (stored as sound)

Short-term memory


STM has a limited…


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