The first topic we have covered for Unit 1 is Memory.
Information Processing Approach: The idea that information is processed through a number of stages
Input: Information enters from the environment
Encoding: The process in which data is changed into another format
Storage: The process in which information is held, ready to be used at a later date
Retrieval: The process in which information is located and taken out of storage
Output: The process of using data after it has been received
Accessibility problems: Problems associated with retrieving information from storage, usually assisted by cues in the environment. Can be used to explain the Tip of the Tongue phenomenon
Availability problems: Problems associated with information no longer being stored.
The Multi Store Model
Short Term Memory: The memory store that has limited capacity (5-9 items) and limited duration (18-30 seconds) and where information becomes conscious
Long Term Memory: The memory store that has unlimited capacity and unlimited duration, and where information is permanently stored.
Decay: Information is lost from the memory store due to underuse, it fades over time until it is forgotten
Displacement: A process in which information is ‘shunted out’ of storage by new information and becomes forgotten
Maintenance Rehearsal: This is the process of repeating information again and again in order to move information from STM to LTM.
One criticism is the model is too rigid, it states that all the stages of the model have to be followed exactly the same by all people – this ignores individual differences. There are people that have better memory than others and the model does not allow for this.
The model oversimplifies the memory stores, it says that information just passes through STM, whereas some people argue the STM is not such a passive store and is more active in making memories.
It is also argued that there are different types of long term memory stores that store different types of information.
The model overemphasises rehearsal, it claims that all information has to be rehearsed to enter LTM. Some events that are particularly traumatic or meaningful may enter LTM without rehearsal, and equally all rehearsed information does not necessarily pass into LTM forever.
The alternative theory is Levels of Processing that is a different theory of how the memory works. It tackles the problem of the overemphasis of rehearsal. It says we process information in two different ways:
Deep Processing: more likely to be remembered because we encode information for meaning, e.g. thinking about what a piece of writing means or trying to understand what a person is saying.
Shallow Processing: less likely to be remembered as we only encode the information on it’s physical properties, e.g. what colour someone’s hair was or what font a slogan was written in.
Aim: To investigate the Serial Positition Effect (SPE) and show the limited capacity and duration of STM.
Procedure: Terry used a repeated measures experiment with students as his participants. The independent variable was the type of recall the participants did (immediate or delayed) and the dependent variable was the number of brands the participants could recall from the adverts they watched.
Participants watched 15 adverts that were 30 seconds long before recalling them immediately, they then watched a second group of 15 adverts (again 30secs), completed a distraction task and then tried to recall as many brand names as they could.
Primacy effect: The first items in a list are remembered well because they have been rehearsed and have moved into LTM
Recency effect: The final few items are remembered well because they are kept in STM
Immediate recall showed both the primacy and recency effect, due to the minimal time between rehearsal and recall. The brands from the adverts in the middle were forgotten by displacement.
Delayed recall still had the primacy effect, and the middle adverts were still forgotten by displacement, however the final few adverts did not get recalled by the recency effect. Due to the 3 minute distraction task these decayed and were therefore forgotten.
Conclusions: Terry supported the ideas of Serial Position Effect, and the limited duration and capacity of STM.
Generalisability: The use of students lessens the generalisability of Terry’s study as they create an age biased sample, but he did include both genders so is not gender biased. They were however all from the same area leading to a culture bias in the sample.
Reliability: There were many controls in this lab experiment, making it highly reliable and replicable. These include the use of the same adverts for all participants, the length of the adverts, the length of the distraction task.
Application: The idea of the Serial Position Effect can be used to help students with their revision – it is important to mix up the order of their revision to ensure the middle sections of information do not continuously get displaced.
Validity: The validity of the task is low, the memory of brand names does not represent a real life situation where memory was used. Also the artificial environment of the lab experiment lowers the ecological validity.
Ethics: There are very few ethical problems with the study, they participants gave consent to take part, were fully debriefed and there wasn’t much in the experiment that could have caused harm to them.
1. Mnemonics help us with ACCESSIBILITY problems
They act as a cue –this jogs our memory and helps us to recall the information we need.
2. The use of stories
The story can act as a “hook” on which you can hang new information to remember the next bit = another CUE