Studies for memory - Psychology unit 1

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STM Duration

  • Peterson and Peterson (1959): Participants asked to remember a trigram, interference task (counting backwards), retention interval varied from 3-18 seconds. 50% remembered the trigram after 3 seconds, only 5% did after 18 seconds. So short-term memory is only a matter of seconds

LTM Duration

  • Bahrick et al (1975): Participants tested 15 years after leaving school were 90% accurate in verbal recognition and visual recognition (names and faces) After 48 years, recall was 80% for names and 70% for faces


  • Jacob's (1887) Digit span technique: Chunking magic number, 7 +/- 2, most participants can remember between 5-9 chunks of information

Multi-store Model of Memory

  • Glanzer and Cunitz (1996): Participants asked to read through list of 10 words and recall them immediately. They tended to remember the words from the start of the list (the primacy effect) and the words from the end of the list (the recency effect) but are less good at remembering the words in the middle. The primary effect occurs because the first words are rehearsed and transferred to the LTM. The recency effect occurs because the last word at still in the STM


  • Clive W: Memory only lasts between 7-30 seconds as the hippocampus was damaged. This hippocampus is an area required to transfer memories from the STM to the LTM, therefore he could not form new memories. This shows the components are all separate, supporting the multi-store model of memory

Criticism for the MSM

  • K.F: Suffered brain damage from a motorcycle incident that damaged his STM. His impairment was mainly for verbal information – his memory for visual information was largely unaffected. This shows there are are separate STM components for visual and verbal information and not just one store for STM as suggested by Atkinson and Shiffrin

Phonological Loop (WMM)

  • Baddeley (1975a): Participants were shown everyday words




great information but do you know what would happen to the primary effect if they counted backwards as a distraction task?

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