The nature of memory: STM, LTM & duration

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Duration of STM

Key difference between STM and LTM - duration

Duration - how long a memory lasts before it is no longer available

STM - doesn't last very long

One way to keep info in STM - rehearsal - keeps the memory active

Result of verbal rehearsal - STMs are held much longer and eventually become LTM

Duration of LTM

Last anywhere from 2 hours - 100 years

Some are very long lasting - e.g. Shepard (1967): showed participants 612 memorable pictures. 1 hour later - shown some of these pictures among a set of others. Almost perfect recognition.  4 months later - still able to recognise 1/2 of the photographs. Also Bahrick et al (1975) - more 'real life' - material to be remembered was more meaningful to participants - duration of LTM was better.

Key study on duration of STM

Peterson (1959)

24 university students

Experimenter said a 'consonant


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