Multi Store Model

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Memory is a process of retaining information after the original is no longer present.

There are close links between learning and memory.

Something that is learned is lodged in memory and we can only remember things we learned in the past.

When we learn and memorise something there are 3 processes that take place:

  • ENCODING: sensory information that is encoded into memory
  • STORAGE: information tored withing a memory system for later use
  • RETRIEVAL: ability to recover information from storage, otherwise known as recall

Testing it

1. Free Recall: participants given words to learn and then ask them to recall the words in any order

2. Word association: words given in pairs and participants must recall paired words

Different types

1. Short term memory (STM)- limited capacity/duration

2. Long term memory (LTM)- unlimited capacity and potential to last forever



  • Atkinson and Shriffin (1968)
  • They argue that there are three kinds of memory stores

1. Information from the environment is recieved by sensory stores. There is one sensory store for each sense. Information lasts for miliseconds in these stores.

2. Some of the information in sensory stores is further processed by STM, the main feature of short term store is it has limited capacity (no more than 7 items of information at a time)

3. Information processed in STM is then transferred to LTM. We rehearse/repeat verbal information from STM into LTM. Key feature of LTM is that information can last a lifetime.

Short term memory



  • Miller (1956) determind that people can only remember 'magic number 7' plus/minus 2
  • He claimed that we should focus on chunks of information
  • Concluded that we would be able to hold about 7 chunks of information at any one time in STM
  • Phone numbers are a good example of information being chunked
  • Miller's work supports that STM has limited capacity


  • Peterson and Peterson (1959)
  • Aimed to test the hypothesis that 'information that is not rehearsed s lost rapidly from STM'
  • Procedure
  • Participants were presented with a triagram consisting of 3 consonants which they knew they would be…


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