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  • Created by: sarah
  • Created on: 26-04-12 19:31

Models of Memory

Multi-Store Model (MSM) - ATKINSON and SHIFFRIN (1968)

Memory is catagorised as a flow of information through a system. The system is divided into a set of stages in which information passes through in a fixed sequence. There are capacity and duration limitations at each stage, and passing information to each stage may require re-coding.

  • Incoming stimuli
  • Sensory Memory (SM) - Capacity: < 4 items. Duration: < 4 seconds / < 1 second. Encoding: acoustic and visual.
  • information loss through decay
  • Short Term Memory (STM) - Capacity: 7 +/- 2 items. Duration: < 30 seconds. Encoding: acoustic.
  • information loss through decay/ displacement
  • Rehearsal transfer
  • Long Term Memory (LTM) - Capacity: vast. Duration: life time. Encoding: semantic.
  • information loss through decay/ retrieval failure/ interference.


  • Distinguishes between STM and LTM stores - Brain Damage and Memory study by MILNER (1965)
  • Evidence in support of the MSM by GLANZER and CUNITZ (1966)


  • Too simplistic and inflexible to explain the entire memory system.
  • Fails to take into account individual strategies people use to remember things, as well as some things just being easier to remember.
  • System is interactive, not separate.
  • People can acquire new knowledge without rehearsal. 

The Working Memory Model (WMM) - BADDELEY and HITCH (1974)

The working memory model replaces the concept of a unitary STM. It proposes a multi-component flexible system concerned with active processing and STM storage of information.

  • The Central Executive is the most important component in the WMM and is involved in problem solving and…


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