• Created by: katieh
  • Created on: 15-03-15 12:42

Key Concepts

Information Processing:

  • the idea that information is processed through a number of stages

input  ----->  encoding  ----->  storage  ----->  retrieval  ----->  output

  • input- process of data entry
  • encoding- the process where data is changed into another format
  • storage- the process where information is held and ready to be used later
  • retrieval- the process where information is located and take out of storage
  • output- the process of using data after it has been retrieved
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Key Concepts

Accessibility Problems:

  • when we cant get to a piece of information in the memory 
  • we know its there but we cant retrieve it 
  • e.g. when you see someone and cant remember their name but remember it later

Availability Problems:

  • this suggest that the information is no longer in the memory at all
  • some believe we lose the information if we don't use it enough or if there's not enough room for it
  • e.g. knowing all your teachers names then eventually forgetting them all years later
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Core Theory: Multi Store Model


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Core Theory: Multi Store Model

input: comes from the environment 

encode: changing the format of the data so that it can be stored

sensory memory: all immediate information is held unless it is paid attention to

attention: process that makes people aware of the information in the memory

short term memory: capacity- 7+/-2 chunks duration- 10-20 seconds

maintenance rehearsal: a process which involves repeating the information so it stays in storage

transfer: information moves to the long term memory

long term memory: capacity- unlimited duration- unlimited

retrieval: getting the information back to the short term memory    

output: information is used

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Core Theory: Multi Store Model



  • Information fading over time until it's forgotten
  • happens in a matter of seconds in STM
  • when we don't use or we stop using the information
  • for example- if you learn information for an exam but forget it after the exam


  • Information is pushed out of storage by new information and so it becomes forgotten
  • the memory runs out of space because it's overloaded
  • for example- if we meet a lot of people at the party and can't remember the names of the first few
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Core Theory: Multi Store Model


The model is too rigid and ignores individual differences

  • assumes each person's memory system has the same structure
  • doesn't easily explain why some people have a much better memory than others
  • some people have good memory for certain types of information  and others have a better memory for other types

The model over-simplifies the STM and the LTM

  • the STM is much more active than the diagram describes
  • it can actually deal with different types of inputs at the same time
  • there are different types of long-term stores: general knowledge, autibiographical events, procedures

The model over-emphasises the role of rehearsal

  • not all information has to be rehearsed
  • for example we dont need to rehearse smells/sounds for them to be in the LTM
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Alternative Theory: Levels of Processing

Levels of Processing

  • does not believe there are stores of memory
  • states we can remember vast amounts of information in a short time if we can give it a meaning

Shallow Processing:

  • only remembering information based on its physical characteristics
  • not thinking about its meaning
  • harder to recall the information
  • for example- only registering the colour of a slogan

Deep Processing:

  • remembering the information and its meaning
  • easier to recall the information
  • for example- thinking about what a piece of writing means or trying to understand what a person is saying
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Core Study: Terry (2005)

Aim: to show that a person's memory is affected by factors such as time and space


  • 15 commercials- 10 months old, no longer than 30 seconds
  • varied the order in which they were presented
  • 39 participants- students
  • repeated measures design- ppts took part in both conditions
  • IV- whether the ppts recalled the adverts immediately after they were presented or whether they recalled them after a delay
  • during the delay they were doing a written task for 3 minutes
  • DV- how many brand names the ppts could recall


  • showed a serial position effect
  • means that whether a commercial was recalled depended on where it was in the list, not what the product was
  • in the condition where the ppts recalled immediately- there was a primacy effect and a recency effect
  • this means there was a good recall of the first few adverts and of the last few adverts
  • the middle adverts had been displaced or decayed because there was no space or there was no opportunity to rehearse them
  • in the condition where the ppts recalled after the delay- there was a primacy effect but no recency effect
  • the first few adverts remembered because they had been rehearsed
  • the task allowed the adverts to displace/decay


  • memory of the adverts was affected by their serial position in the list and not by the meaning
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Core Study: Terry (2005)


Laboratory experiments lack ecological validity

  • they are carried out in artificial settings that do not reflect real life
  • in real life people would watch adverts with distractions 
  • would not act the same as they are under controlled conditions

Experiments often lack construct validity

  • experiments often take a narrow measure of what is being investigated
  • there is much more to memory than remembering adverts 
  • it is artificial to make them all a certain length and for them all to be 10 months old

Experiments have the problem of demand characteristics

  • this is when it's clear from the cues in the study what the researcher is trying to investigate
  • the ppts knew they were being experimented on and may have tried to help him achieve the results he wanted
  • they may have recalled certain adverts on purpose to help achieve the results
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Application:Memory Aids

Types of Memory Aids


  • they work on the assumption that lost information is just inaccesible and can be retrieved
  • they help trigger and therefore access lost information
  • e.g. the smell on plasticine may remind someone of an event from their childhood
  • For example- in teaching, when teachers may give a cue (e.g. the first letter of the word) to help the student remember
  • there is evidence that people recall information better if they are in the same context or situation in which they've learnt it
  • For example- the student could wear the same perfume when revising for the exam and when taking the exam, this smell will trigger the memory of them revising

Mind Mapping:

  • help us to remember materials because they are supposed to reflect the way that memory is organised

Use of Imagery:

  • relating pictures to written material will help 
  • it gives more meaning and 'doubles the chances' of remembering it
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