The multi-store model of memory


Multi-store model of memory

  • This was the first cognitive explanation of memory
  • It explains how information flows through a series of storage systems
  • Information from the environment goes to the sensory register, if the information gains the attention of the individual it is taken to the short term memory store. Prolonged rehearsal means this information becomes stored in the long term memory store. Maintenance rehearsal allows the information to remain in the STM. Information from the LTM can be retrieved into the STM and then a response occurs
  • There are three stores in the multi-store model:
    • Sensory register:
      • An automatic response to the perception of environmental stimuli by sensory organs
      • Coding- raw and unprocessed, 5 stores, one for each sense
      • Capacity- very large, everything that enters your senses goes into it
      • Duration- 1/20th of a second. The function of sensory memory is to retain info for long enough to allow a decision as to whether it is worth processing further
      • Evidence for capacity and duration:
        • Sperling briefly displayed a 4x3 grid of letters
        • He found ppts could only recall 4 or 5 letters from the 0.05 second arrays, but reported being aware of more letters that they could not report
        • Sperling suggested that because visual info was only avaliable for a very short time, it faded before ppts could recall it
        • In a second experiment he sounded different tones (high, medium or low) to indicate which row had to be recalled
        • This improved recall, indicating that all info was originally there and suggests that capacity of SM is quite large but duration is limited
    • Short-term memory
      • Information arrives from SM in its original raw form and then is encoded by the STM, usually acoustically
      • Evidence for coding:
        • Baddeley presented ppts with one of four word lists:
        • List A: Acoustically similar words (cat, mat, sat)
        • List B: Acoustically dissimilar words (pit, day, cow)
        • List C: Semantically similar words (big, huge, tall)
        • List D: Semantically dissimliar words (hot, safe, foul)
        • Ppts had to recall the words in the correct order
        • When they had to do the recall task immediately after hearing it (STM recall) they tended to do worse with acoustically similar words
        • When they were asked to recall the words 20 minutes afterwards (LTM recall), they…


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