Describe and Evaluate the Multi-Store Model of Memory

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Describe and Evaluate the Multi-Store Model of Memory

The multi-store model of memory (MSM) is an explanation of the process of memory. Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin first illustrated the multi-store model, in 1968, it explains how we hear, see and feel many things but only a small number are remembered and other aren’t.

There is strong evidence of three different stores suggesting that the basis of the MSM is reliable. However there has been some criticism of the MSM, most importantly that the supporting research are not entirely valid. For example, memory research usually relates to semantic memory, which would relate to everyday memory activities, yet not all aspects of memory can relate to this.

A strength of the MSM is that there is evidence to indicate the duration of the sensory store was collected in a study by Sperling (1960). Participants saw a grid of digits and letters for 50 milliseconds. They were either asked to write down all 12 items or they would hear a tone immediately after the exposure and they should write down al the letters of that row. The findings showed that their recall was poorer than when asked to give one row only. This theory supported the MSM’s idea that information decays rapidly in the sensory memory store.

The original multi-store model is highly criticized for a number of reasons, however the main criticism of the MSM is its oversimplification of the structure and process of the human memory. The multi-store model is too simple and fails to reflect the complexity of the human memory. The MSM fails to explain how some information can enter the human brain without being rehearsed. For instance a student can study for an exam for hours and still not remember the info but can read a magazine once and remember all the info. This relates to Craik and Lockhart’s (1972) proposal of a different model to explain lasting memories; they suggested that enduring memories are created by the processing you do, rather...
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