Discuss the multi-store model of memory (12 Marks)
The multi-store model of memory was suggested by Atkinson and Shiffrin, in order to explain how memory works. Memory is a system which is vital to our survival. For psychologists, memory covers processes called; encoding, storage and retrieval.
Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) suggested that memory is made up of a series of stores. The stores differ in their encoding, storage and retrieval characteristics.
Atkinson’s and Shiffrin’s multi-store model of memory contained three key parts to the memory which were the sensory information system, the short-term memory and the ...view middle of the document...
Information which is rehearsed enough or is given elaborative meaning will transfer into the LTM. Such information is encoded in many forms, e.g. LTM contains knowledge, facts, beliefs, pictures, skills, language and musical knowledge. LTM seems to have unlimited capacity and an indefinite lifespan.
Support from this model comes from research evidence. For example the work of Peterson and Peterson (1959). They gave participants a consonant trigram to remember and then a large number. To prevent rehearsal, they counted backwards in threes from a given number and then recalled the trigram. Participants were unable to recall the trigram at all after 18-30 seconds indicating that this is the life span of items in STM. This supports the model because it demonstrates the different stages of memory, STM and LTM. However, some downfalls to the experiment include not being able to apply the findings into real life situations.
Further support comes from the work of Milner (1967). Milner quoted physiological evidence from studies of brain-damaged, amnesic or alcoholic people who have a good LTM but very poor STM. Some stroke victims and elderly people also have STM problems. Milner demonstrated the difference between STM and LTM. Furthermore, Murdock (1962) asked participants in his experiment to learn the list of words and free-recall them. Words presented either early in the list or at the end were more often recalled than the ones in the middle of the list. Murdock suggested that words early in the list were out into LTM (primary effect) and words from the end went into STM (recency effect). Words in the middle of the list had been there too long to be held in STM but not long enough to be put into LTM.
Thus, the distinction between STM and LTM has been supported by studies of people in many different ways. Although, the studies of people with amnesia provides near conclusive evidence. One of the most famous amnesia patients is Clive Wearing. His case supported the existence of the model as Clive couldn’t transfer information from his STM to his LTM. Therefore this shows the apparent existence of the two memory stores.
The multi-store model suggests that there is one LTM store, however, Tulving (1989) distinguishes between episodic, procedural and semantic memory. All of there ideas were based on there being specific...